Thursday Tide Thoughts: Defending Saban

It may be the off season, but lately there’s been a lot of defense still being played.

Folks are defending the hurry up, no huddle (HUNH) offense from Nick Saban.  Meanwhile, Saban’s defending his position (and clarifying it a bit) against the HUNH.  And then some folks are defending Saban.  Like former Tide player Kellen Williams:

“Coach Saban really prepped us for spread teams,” said Williams, who spent five years at Alabama mostly as a reserve. “I was an offensive lineman so I wasn’t in on the defensive installation meetings when we started game-planning people but I know for a fact that he has those guys for prepped for spread teams.

“I don’t think we necessarily really struggled with spread teams. We struggle with spread teams that had athletes like (Nick) Marshall over in Auburn and (Johnny) Manziel just to name a few.”

“I think he’s just lobbying for the no-huddle offense to be kind of cut out but then again he also game-planned for it,” Williams said. “He knows better than anyone in the country how to stop it. Obviously, the Oklahoma game and Auburn games weren’t just on him. I was a senior and it was kind of on us as well.”

Williams’ defense of Saban came via The Paul Finebaum show and his call in was reported by AL.com.

While I didn’t listen to any of his comments on Finebaum, his quotes via AL.com make his defense Saban just a so-so effort.  I guess he’s not defending like a champion, or something like that.

First, there’s the fact he was an offensive lineman and wasn’t a part of Alabama’s recent defensive game-planning.  Second, his “yeah, but” related to Marshall and Manziel makes some sense in terms of the Tide struggling against certain great players, but at the same time doesn’t help the public’s perception of Saban vs. the HUNH.  Third, his comment “I think he’s just lobbying for the no-huddle offense to be kind of cut out” is fairly cringe worthy.  Sure, Saban isn’t for the HUNH, but I’m sure he doesn’t want the public to think he’s trying to just have it “cut out.”  You just can’t have that associated with you when you are a defensive guru.

He does hit the money with this quote, though:

“In the grand scheme of things, college football is college football, but coach Saban is the man who turned me from a young kid at 18 into a grown man at 23. I’m proud to say that,” Williams said. “I came into the program kind of cocky and arrogant and I left very humbled. Really grateful for what he did for me, not only as a player but as a person.

At the end of the day Williams may not have defended Saban’s defense against the HUNH very well, but he captures the essence of what it means to play for Saban.

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