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  1. #1
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    Why is Saban More Consistent at Alabama Than He Was at LSU?

    Question for the board trying to kill time to January 7.

    Saban's LSU teams had some undoubtedly great years. But they tended to follow up the championship seasons with slightly down years. Not bad ones, just not up to the championship standard. He was at LSU five years, and won 10+ games twice. Won 11+ games only once. Lost fewer than three games only once. In his first year there, he had four losses (understandable), but lost five in his third year, including a first class butt-whipping against us.

    But he's been at Alabama six years now, and failed to win 10+ games only once...the 2007 rebuilding year. In four of the six, he's won 12+ games. And the program gives no sign of slacking off.

    So what's changed? What is he doing different now from what he did at LSU?

    And don't say it's because we're Alabama. LSU has comparable facilities, and maybe even a better recruiting base (great HS football in the state, and no credible in-state competition for the elite athletes). A goofball like Les Miles wins big there.

    On top of that, "being Alabama" didn't save us from consistently inconsistent performances under other coaches.

    I agree that it allowed several mediocre coaches to achieve more than they could have elsewhere. But it didn't save us from wandering in the wilderness for most of the 25 years between Bryant and Saban (Note: 1991 - 1994 exception under Stallings acknowledged, along with 1989, 1999, and 2005 years where "being Alabama" made Curry's, DuBose's and Shula's otherwise somber tenures). Still, "being Alabama" didn't work for 19 of the 25 intervening years.

    What is Saban doing now that even he didn't do in the past?
    Last edited by 4Q Basket Case; December 22nd, 2012 at 12:32 PM.
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  3. #2
    BamaNation All-SEC CrimsonForce's Avatar
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    Re: Why is Saban More Consistent at Alabama Than He Was at LSU?

    I think he's learned how to handle the mindset/motivation factor for a team after winning a NC better. He hadn't won a NC before LSU so I'm sure he's learned/doing some things differently at bama. I also believe he would have won several more NC had he stayed at LSU. Those teams he left were loaded

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    BamaNation Second Team CRMSNtide's Avatar
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    Why is Saban More Consistent at Alabama Than He Was at LSU?

    Being Alabama must play into it IMO, the recruiting and coaching machine in place right now outclasses those LSU years he was part of.
    The talent he has brought in and developed seems a good step up from what he did in the past.
    He is the kind of guy that keeps learning though, maybe he has really perfected his system by now, and has got to the age where he's not thinking about the NFL anymore, just dialed in to Alabama and his process.

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    Re: Why is Saban More Consistent at Alabama Than He Was at LSU?

    2000: year one of the program and he was inheriting a program that had become accustomed to losing. He had to change the mindset.

    2001: the turnaround year and they surprised everyone by winning the SECCG.

    2002: They lost to VT to open the season but they were poised to make a run for the SEC title until Mauck went down in the Florida (?) game.

    2003: They win a national title with Matt Mauck

    2004: RS year for Jamarcus Russell; the Marcus Randall experience once again.


    I'd argue that their biggest problem at LSU was the QB position. Davey was great and they had a winner in Mauck but Randall was terrible. They eventually got Russell on campus but they needed a RS year to get him ready and had to go back to the stopgap Randall again for 2004.

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    Senior Administrator TIDE-HSV's Avatar
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    Re: Why is Saban More Consistent at Alabama Than He Was at LSU?

    And don't say it's because we're Alabama. LSU has comparable facilities, and maybe even a better recruiting base (great HS football in the state, and no credible in-state competition for the elite athletes). A goofball like Les Miles wins big there.
    Respectfully disagree. We have 20 recruits so far from 13 different states. Saban's recruiting base is the nation...
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    Re: Why is Saban More Consistent at Alabama Than He Was at LSU?

    Like anyone driven, he's gotten better / refined his methods with experience. Who among us isn't better at what we do today than just five years ago? 10?

    Not to mention he's been recruiting better...
    LSU recruiting rankings under CNS:
    2000 - 27th
    2001 - 4th
    2002 - 15th
    2003 - 1st
    2004 - 2nd

    Bama recruiting rankings under CNS:
    2007 - 10th
    2008 - 1st
    2009 - 1st
    2010 - 5th
    2011 - 1st
    2012 - 1st
    2013 - 1st (currently)
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    Re: Why is Saban More Consistent at Alabama Than He Was at LSU?

    I mean, it is undeniable that his success previously at LSU helped validate himself coming into Alabama which recruits well historically anyway. He inherited a decent recruiting class in 2007 but he augmented it with a few additions...much better than what he inherited from DiNardo in 2000.

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    Re: Why is Saban More Consistent at Alabama Than He Was at LSU?

    Well it is partly because it's Alabama. I'm personally getting tired of hearing LSU is somehow our equal or even superior in some ways to Alabama. They are not and history proves it.

  10. #9
    BamaNation All-American bamabryan's Avatar
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    Re: Why is Saban More Consistent at Alabama Than He Was at LSU?

    CNS is the best coach in college football. He knows what he's doing. He's gotten better through experience and perfected what he wants to do. And yes the fact that we are Alabama helps.

  11. #10
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    Re: Why is Saban More Consistent at Alabama Than He Was at LSU?

    I believe this is a case of the sum being greater than the parts. CNS @ LSU (or most anywhere for that matter)....he had the "process"...or at least the foundation for it but other components were missing. Whether it was player talent, player commitment, facilities, assistant coaches, etc....he just couldn't get everything synced up.

    Alabama pre-CNS had the tools but not the coach. We had, or could get, the talent. We had those kids that would give up body parts to wear that uniform. We had the facilities, the name, the fan base, the $$$....everything but a qualified man to bring it all together.

    CNS @ Alabama....he brings the elements together and unites them. He found a place with passionate kids that could also land the big time talent from around the region and the nation. He has all the tools to make his process work. The schools tools perpetuate the success of CNS and CNS perpetuates the ability of the school to provide those tools.
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  12. #11
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    Re: Why is Saban More Consistent at Alabama Than He Was at LSU?

    Some times it helps to just sit back and think about things. At times in my life when things just weren't going good and I knew it was my fault but couldn't quite put my finger on what the problem was, I would walk off up into the woods (forest for city folk), and sit down and lean back against a tree and clear my mind and just start thinking from the beginning, and after a few hours I usually could figure out basically what the problem was.
    I think CNS knows the buck starts and stops with him and you don't hear him making excuses and firing asst. coaches to fix the problem. It is what it is and CNS realizes that when he gets up in the morning and puts his big boy britches on and goes to work, he's got a job to do and you can't do it by whining we're young, blaming other coaches and going duck hunting.
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  13. #12
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    Re: Why is Saban More Consistent at Alabama Than He Was at LSU?

    Great question. My gut feeling is that at LSU he was still climbing the ladder; trying to figure out what he wanted from his career. Now, he is where he intends to be, undistracted by the "what-ifs" of the pros or other college jobs; focused on domination not just today or this year, but for a career (however long it lasts).

    I also believe that Saban knows that few if any college coaches have won consistently AND set their programs up for longterm success after they left (akin to Jim Collins' concept of a Level 5 leader in "Good to Great"): not Bryant; not Parseghian; not Jimmy Johnson; not Spurrier; not McKay; not Paterno; maybe, MAYBE, Rockne or Bobby Bowden. People wonder what challenge is left for him at Alabama - in other words, why wouldn't he want a new challenge in the pros, at Texas, etc. It is my hope that the challenge of becoming the first truly Level 5 leader in the history of college football is motivating him to stay and build for longterm, post-Saban success. If he is, that would explain a lot about why he's getting more consistency at Alabama than he got at LSU; but it's just my hybrid hope/theory...
    Last edited by Isaiah 63:1; December 23rd, 2012 at 08:51 AM.

  14. #13
    BamaNation Hall of Fame selmaborntidefan's Avatar
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    Re: Why is Saban More Consistent at Alabama Than He Was at LSU?

    I think an argument could be made that he peaked too soon at LSU. That peak in turn led to him bolting for the NFL and we all know what happened from there. When Saban took over LSU in December 1999, they had had EIGHT losing seasons in the previous 11 years. He immediately turned a three-win team into an eight-win team. His losses were to SEC West champion Auburn, SEC champ Florida, 6-6 Arkansas, and 7-4 UAB. So two of those can be written off to competition and the other two to a learning curve.


    The following year (2001), CNS stunned the establishment by winning the SEC and capping that off with a drilling of Illinois in the Sugar Bowl. He lost to Tennessee, and an argument could be made that that was due to 9/11. Because their off week was scheduled the week after 9/11, LSU did not play a game for 21 days, and they were not yet in a rhythm. They came back and lost to the Vols and Gators - exactly what would have been predicted at the start of the year. They then lost ONLY to Ole Miss the rest of the way, and they beat Auburn to win the West and the Vols - after trailing 17-7 mind you - to take the SEC.


    I think it was too much, too fast. They were 8-5 the next year but remember - they needed the Bluegrass Miracle to beat Kentucky or they would have been 7-6.

    They won it all, of course, in 2003, but let's not forget that (here goes) they only got into that game in the first place because of the first nutty setup of the BCS and the inexcusable entry of OU into the game. LSU got there not because they were overly impressive but because some of USC's opponents got drilled and lowered the SOS. That's not to say they didn't deserve it - truth is it was OU, not LSU, who should have missed the title game.



    But now look at 2004. Everybody considers that a "bad" year, but most schools would love a bad year like that. Yes, Georgia plowed them. But the Auburn game turned on a bad officiating call. Auburn scored with 1:14 left and missed the PAT. An Auburn guy blocked the LSU defender into the kicker intentionally and the refs threw a flag.

    That's their two losses. The third one can be chalked up to all the distraction surrounding Saban leaving and the Iowa miracle. That being said - I watched that game and LSU really had no business even leading at the time of the TD bomb.


    So I would summarize it as a situation of "too much, too soon." He took over a losing culture at LSU. When he came here despite the fact we had been losing some, we had just had a pair of ten-win seasons with two different coaches in the previous five years. And don't forget - despite the fact he had mostly Shula recruits, he had us at 6-2 entering November 2007. The two losses were in overtime to Georgia and a close one to FSU.

    And even with players suspended from the Textbook Scandal (which is what really did us in that year), we led LSU by seven with three minutes to play before disaster struck.



    So I'd say it's a combination of:
    1) too much, too soon at LSU
    2) experience from what he did wrong before
    3) expecations
    :13

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