Nick Saban actually said, “It’s kind of like mouse manure when you’re up to your ears in elephant doo-doo” this week, and as usual, he probably was right.
The quote came from his news conference at the SEC Spring Meetings in Destin, Fla., when he was asked about the new NCAA rule prohibiting teams from having more than 20 people on headsets during games. Mind you, only the coaches are allowed microphones to talk with one another so the rule only limits the number of people listening in.
For the most part, we’re talking about analysts and interns. You know, people who actually are trying to learn how to coach.
The new rule isn’t just petty, but idiotic. At least that’s probably what Saban wants to say. He had a more colorful description while also calling it short-sighted.
“I think it’s an opportunity for somebody to kind of try to control how many people we can have on staff,” he said.
This is because of Alabama hiring analysts, which is something every school could do but many opt not to over financial issues. At least with bylaw 220.127.116.11.5 — banning colleges from employing anyone associated with any recruit who might participate in a camp, including coaches — there was a logic to it. The 2017 rule was overkill, but at least it was trying to minimize a recruiting problem.
Even so, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney repeatedly called the measure “stupid.”
Remember, these are colleges. Their principal purpose for existing is to help people develop, grow and find jobs.
“If we don’t have interns and graduate assistants and people who want to be a part of our game, who’s developing coaches?” Saban said. “Where are they coming from in the future?”
“I’m really happy and pleased that we have, probably, five or six of our players, former players that have played for us over the last 10 or 11 years that want to come back and be coaches. And I can’t offer them all opportunities to do that. We have some in the program, but others we don’t. Well, I think it’s healthy for them, and I also think it’s good for student-athletes that we have guys that like the game, had a great experience, want to go impact and influence somebody else the way they got impacted by a coach. I don’t see what’s so bad about that.”
Saban feels the rule is directed at him, and he should. This has been going on for a decade, with proposals he makes getting shot down and other rules — directly or indirectly — attempting to minimize Alabama’s success getting passed.
Remember the 2006 rule changes designed to shorten games because it was supposedly in the best interest of the players and would minimize injuries?
Not only did they get rescinded, but the game has since gone in the other direction with more snaps per game and a longer season. While every other sport is debating what to do about concussions, college football arguably has become even more dangerous.
Saban tried to counter by suggesting colleges match the pros by forcing offenses to wait at least 10 seconds from the end of a play and the start of another one. To say the outcry from coaches relying on hurry-up offenses was extreme would be an understatement.
The rule change that still really gets him to this day is the one banning head coaches from going on the road to evaluate players in the spring. Dubbed “The Saban Rule” after his immensely successful signing class in 2008, the rest of college football didn’t like getting outworked by Saban and Urban Meyer during the offseason.
A decade later, they’re still winning.
Alabama’s titles in 2009, 2011, 2012, 2015 and 2017 are the proof, plus the Crimson Tide’s the only program to make the College Football Playoff every year. Whatever rule changes have occurred he’s simply adapted, re-channeled his energies and kept winning.
Headsets? Mouse manure indeed.