Saban Follows System of Success
By Anthony Richards
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Saban has shown the ability to recruit guys that fit his system and in doing so has created a rotation of talent at linebacker, safety and offensive line spots.
Throughout Nick Saban’s tenure as head coach at Alabama, there have been specific positions that seem to continually produce. Saban has shown the ability to recruit guys that fit his system and in doing so has created a rotation of talent at linebacker, safety and offensive line spots.
Two of these positions are on the defensive side of the ball, Saban’s pride and joy. The first of which is middle linebacker, the position in which Saban’s 4-3 defense revolves around.
Saban has coached Rolando McClain and Dont’a Hightower, both of which were drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft. Senior C.J. Mosley is the current leader of the linebacker corps, after leading the team with 107 tackles in 2012.
“All I can say is that I was doing what I was told. I bought into the Alabama system and I feel that if you buy into coach Saban’s system, you’ll be successful,” Mosley said during SEC Media Days.
The safety spot in Saban’s defense is the last line of defense and acts as an eraser of mistakes made in the secondary. Junior Ha Ha Clinton-Dix looks to take over the starting role from previous ball hawks such as, Rashad Johnson, Mark Barron and Robert Lester. While in a reserve role, Clinton-Dix had the most interceptions in the SEC in 2012, including one against Notre Dame in the BCS title game.
“He’s really become the leader of the secondary,” Mosley said.
Andre Smith and D.J. Fluker both earned All-American honors as offensive tackles in college and were drafted in the first round of the NFL draft. Barrett Jones mastered every position along the offensive line during his time at Alabama and exhibited the type of versatile players that Saban likes along the line.
The next wave of talented Crimson Tide offensive linemen starts with junior tackle Cyrus Kouandjio and senior guard Anthony Steen, who were each voted pre-season first-team All-SEC during SEC Media Days.
“It’s really important, obviously, starting up front and losing those guys with just me and Cyrus left,” Steen said. “We got guys that can step in and fill those shoes.”
The main reason behind Alabama’s current run of back to back BCS titles and three in four years is Saban’s ability to find guys with the talent and willingness to buy into their roles on the team. As Saban enters his seventh season at Alabama, there is no sign of slowing down when it comes to finding an endless stream of talent. That is not good news for opposing teams in the SEC, who must continue to battle Saban on the field and in recruiting.