Sunday morning Alabama football fans got a special treat. Nick Saban, Kevin Steele and Tommy Rees spent close to an hour talking Alabama Crimson Tide football.
The most compelling story coming out of the three media sessions is a simple one. But that simplicity does not diminish what could well become the reason Alabama Football returns to championship form. That story is, at the top of the Crimson Tide’s coaching hierarchy, there are no weak links.
Of course that is true with CFB’s unquestioned GOAT, Nick Saban. But in recent years, the Tide’s Coordinators, whether one or both in a given season, have been doubted to the point of being labeled as seriously deficient. Proof will come later, but at this point in time, a claim can be made for Alabama there are no weak links at the top.
Bullet points from the three coaches’ comments are provided below, along with the complete video.
Alabama Football – Nick Saban
- On fall camp so far – “Bad habits have a cost. Good habits have a price. You’ve got to pay the price for these good habits up front, which is obviously what you do when fall camp comes along.”
- On the quarterback competition – ” fall camp is not the beginning of the end. You’ve got an opportunity to separate yourself … but that competition goes on and on and on.”
Alabama Football – Kevin Steele
- After what was clearly sincere praise of Nick Saban, Steele added, “We have a very strong group of guys in the room with Coach Robinson, Coach Bala, Coach Hutzler, Coach Roach, those guys are outstanding football coaches. They’re very smart. That’s a huge, huge benefit. We have unity in there. We get along. The room is very positive.”
- On Nick Saban’s system – “80% of what is done here defensively, that’s what I was doing at other places. Even the words were the same. I didn’t have to bring a new dictionary in. There are some nuances that have changed since I left.”
- Steele talked about Tommy Rees and mentioned he knew Rees’ father before Tommy was born. “He’s an extremely bright coach. … He’s very tough. He’s got a defensive mentality. I don’t know if he would appreciate me saying that about him, but he’s very tough. He’s the same every day. He’s got ice water in his veins.”
Alabama Football – Tommy Rees
- On being at Alabama and working for Nick Saban, ” I’m surrounded every day by I think the best offensive staff, defensive staff, support staff in the country. I think we have a ton of buy-in among our staff and players. We’re all energized and hungry.”
- Talking about Jalen Milroe and Ty Simpson and their responses to not transfer after Tyler Buchner was added to the roster, ” Speaks volumes for the program that guys want to stay here.”
- Talking about play caller and QB relationships, “They’ve (the QBs) got to be an extension of what we’re trying to do as a staff. The only way we can get there is if there’s full trust.”
It is, of course, too early for any of us to draw conclusions. But as a point of reference, in analyzing these fall media day sessions for many years, I have not come away with so much confidence that the Crimson Tide and Nick Saban have in the two Coordinators just what is needed for a championship season.
There will be no more formal sessions with Steele and Rees until December. That is Saban’s way and it makes sense, but hearing more from them would be a treat.