Nick Saban and The SEC vs. The World

Why 2012 Won't Be Like 1984. (Photo by Butch Dill/Getty Images)


We've got a pretty cool partnership with the nice people at Sports Illustrated. I was recently asked by Dame Holly Anderson to drop by and briefly say why the idea of Mack Brown's seat being hot was preposterous. Not much too it in my opinion even if my feelings on the man's performance are a bit more ambivalent.

They've written two other cool articles in the last couple of days. Take a look after the jump.

First Stewart Mandel looks at the SEC's run and identifies similarities between those teams. He then turns his attention to the SEC's best hopes for dynastic continuation. Lastly, he looks at five teams he think could end this SEC run. Surprise, surprise! The Texas Longhorns lead off his list.

Texas (No. 15 in Coaches' Poll): In the three years since losing Colt McCoy in the first quarter of the title game and falling 37-21 to Alabama, Mack Brown has reinvented the Longhorns into a virtual SEC clone. They run the ball (202.6 yards per game last year) and stop the run (No. 6 nationally). They boast a pair of potential first-round defensive ends in Jackson Jeffcoat and Alex Okafor and a trio of young tailbacks (Malcolm Brown, Joe Bergeron and freshman Johnathan Gray) any team would covet. Texas needs either David Ash or Case McCoy to emerge as a dependable quarterback, which is an admittedly huge question mark for the team, but it doesn't necessarily need either to become a star. The Longhorns -- 4-5 in the Big 12 last season -- may still be a year away from returning to elite status, but they match the blueprint.


I am not sure I see it but what the hell. Certainly, staying healthy in areas with Petri dish depth would be a good start.

Anyway, it's an enjoyable read. Might even turn me into a Trojan fan. Or a Duck fan. Can you imagine how crestfallen A&M will be of LSU doesn't win it all?

Stewart Mandel - SEC and Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

Next up is BBQ cook extraordinaire, Andy Staples who has noticed that since nobody has been able to beat the SEC and specifically Nick Saban (who has won three times at two schools), many are starting to mimic him.

Andy Staples - The Sabanzation Of College Football

Fisher explained that since taking over, he had hired a nutritionist to monitor what players ate. He had contracted a mental-conditioning coach to change how players thought. He had inherited two strength-and-conditioning- assistants, then hired six more and was on the verge of bringing on a seventh to ensure that players received more individual attention in the weight room. Fisher then asked the boosters to dig deep because he needed more. He wanted better dorms for the players and an indoor practice facility. Basically, he wanted everything his old boss, Nick Saban, had at Alabama.

Fisher wanted to duplicate the Process.


The Process gets a lot of play but it's the sort of distinction between Saban and Mack that I find interesting. Mack has often spoken about outcomes. Sure, the end justifies the means when you hoist the crystal football. Mack was head coach for Vince's team. He gets and deserves the spoils. And might have beaten the Nicktator had Colt McCoy not run into Ben Grimm. But he also presided over 5-7 one season removed from playing for all the marbles, something that probably doesn't happen if you take step one first, every day, and proceed methodically. Relentlessly. Possibly ruthlessly.

Even Texas coach Mack Brown, whose own admired blueprint produced a 101-16 record from '01 to '09, had Saban in mind when he brought two new assistants to Austin after the '10 season to help the Longhorns evolve to win in a new decade.

Mack seems to be running things differently. More focus, better organization, early recruiting, etc.

Even programs that don't want to completely Sabanize have used some of his principals. After Texas went 5-7 in a disastrous 2010 season, Brown decided to revamp his staff. He had seen his offensive line get abused that season, and he knew the unit needed better coaching. Still smarting from the way Alabama's defensive line whipped the Longhorns up front in the '09 BCS title game, Brown also decided to change his defensive line coach. Brown hired offensive line coach Stacy Searels from Georgia and swiped defensive line coach Bo Davis from Saban's Alabama staff. Searels and Davis knew one another well -- on Saban's '03 LSU staff, Searels coached the offensive line, and Davis was an assistant strength coach. "They have such cohesiveness when it comes to practice and working their guys together with drills and trying to compete," Brown said. "I really felt like it was a win-win for us. They've both done a remarkable job of shoring up our lines of scrimmage in only a year."

Though I doubt we'll see any trapdooring of guys.

Football, y'all. It's nearly here.

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