Offseason Thread: When Saban Retires -- Who?

TideEngineer08

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As for the Nick Saban coaching tree:

I used to think it was going to be Kirby, then it turned out he was actually a royal jackass and now that he's turned the clocks back to 1980 at his alma mater, he's there for life.

Sark? No. I wouldn't have been on that train even if he had not gone to Texas and started so poorly there. I did think it was an intriguing thought before he left... but now that I've seen what he is about at Texas, I don't think there is any way it would work. He is not cut out for this job.

It has been mentioned already, but on Napier, I don't see how that works. We would want to see him do bigger things than he has done thus far at Louisiana. Well, if he does, he is going to do them at Florida and what coach is leaving Florida for Alabama? Don't get me wrong. I do not put Florida on equal ground with Alabama (sorry, Bazza) but they are only one rung below, and they happen to be in the easier SEC division, and they can pay as much as we can (or they should be able to). I don't know all the details though. Do they have the same commitment to facilities? Maybe it could happen, but I am doubtful.

Pruitt. SMH. I thought better of him than I did Kirby, but I was WAY OFF on that one.

Kiffin. He is certainly the most contentious possibility. No doubt he has the talent. But there is also no doubt he completely lacks the discipline. IF he had that discipline and maturity, he would be a home run. A grand slam, even. But he simply does not and at this late date in his career (I get that he is still young but he has been coaching a long time now), if he has not already figured it out, then I doubt he is ever going to figure it out. It's too big of a risk. If he is the hire, I think he wins multiple NCs. But I also think he crashes and burns in spectacular fashion. There will be PR nightmares.

Mel Tucker. Now this one is intriguing. First Colorado, and not 1980s/1990s Colorado, and then Michigan State. He is on the right trajectory. I think it will be well worth keeping an eye on him as things progress. I am of the opinion that Coach Saban will coach at least 4 more seasons. By then we will definitely know about Tucker's ability to take on this job.

I am probably forgetting someone, but those seem to be the only Saban protégés worth mentioning to me. Outside of that circle, Dabo is a non-starter, Urban's coaching career is over, and Bill O'Brien is not a realistic candidate, IMO. But Dave Aranda is definitely one. I have no idea if he could step in and maintain the culture that is in place, but he does seem to be of the same kind of mindset as Coach Saban.

Guys like Ryan Day are already at an "Alabama" so I do not consider them.
 
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BamaMoon

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I just hope we remember the lesson we *should have* learned from hiring Coach Bryant's replacement and what happened for about 20 years afterward (excluding the Bill Curry disastrous tenure).

I think a lot has changed since then and (as referenced earlier) the GOB network isn't in place now (thanks to CNS) but the WORST thing we could do is insist the next coach be a CNS disciple.

Now, if the best candidate is a CNS disciple, that's OK, but we just shouldn't limit ourselves to someone directly connected to him.

Having said all that, it's been my experience that the best kind of replacement of a long-tenured person is someone who has a different personality than the former.

So if we had to hire a new person today...I'd agree Kiffin would probably be at the top of my list.
 
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dtgreg

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As coach Stallings says, "there are many ways to win". Until recently, I believed that a defensive-minded coach was the best way to win consistantly. I still believe a defense first mindset plays the best with the Alabama fanbase. However, the rules of college football have fundamentally changed. It might very well be better to go with an offensive-minded guy these days as the rules have been skewed in favor of scoring.

One could view the success of Kirby Smart this year as a Stallings-like aberration. A generational defense and a serviceable offense that complemented it. However, this might change as he has now proven himself and his recruiting is off the charts. We'll see if he attempts to follow Saban's plan and go after top QBs and a high powered offense or if he believes Saban is fundamentally mistaken in his new direction.

Of whichever side the ball the head coach is a disciple, he is at the mercy of his counterpart. For my entire life, defense has always proven to be the most consistant winner. Now, I'm not so sure. I remember Spurrier could never win the big one until he got Bob Stoops to come in and run the defense (and basically the program). Even Bob Stoops changed his tune when he realized how many points you had to be prepared to score EVERY WEEK in the Big 12. So far we haven't seen a Sark or Ryan Day or Kiffin win championships consistently. Saban is betting against Kirby and with Bob Stoops. Which tells me (if our coach is correct) that Saban is more of a Unicorn than he already was if he keeps winning like he has. He has established Alabama as a juggernaut but he is totally at the mercy of his O coordinator. If he has a Sark or a Kiffin (or even a Locksley), he's a god. If he has a Nuss, he's an also-ran. Could be, nowadays if you're an offensive genius you only need a seviceable D coach who can recruit his butt off and if you are able to competently run a program, you're better off than the reverse. Time will tell.
 
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I just hope we remember the lesson we *should have* learned from hiring Coach Bryant's replacement and what happened for about 20 years afterward (excluding the Bill Curry disastrous tenure).

I think a lot has changed since then and (as referenced earlier) the GOB network isn't in place now (thanks to CNS) but the WORST thing we could do is insist the next coach be a CNS disciple.

Now, if the best candidate is a CNS disciple, that's OK, but we just shouldn't limit ourselves to someone directly connected to him.
I think you learned the wrong lesson. The desire for CPB’s replacement to be one of “Bryant’s boys” was really nepotistic for its own sake. It was repeated, to a degree, with the DuBose hire. By limiting the universe of prospective hires to people meeting subjective criteria,, in each case we reduced the odds of a successful hire. I don’t think anyone would make those mistakes again,

The desire for CNS’ replacement to be Sabanized is completely different. It reflects the desire to have the next coach continue the Process, which in theory could be someone not from his tree but is more likely to be someone who learned at the feet of the master. That doesn’t mean that anyone with ties to Saban will do. Whoever it is will have to meet certain objective criteria, which ought to increase the odds of a successful hire.

The motivation in each case was/is vastly different from the other’s.
 
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9gks

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I agree with most all of this, but I will add that there was a lot of flack thrown at Kirby Smart even though it was his first head coaching job. Flack that I feel like hasn't been thrown at coaches like Ryan Day and Lincoln Riley.
They didn't t take pictures of our recruiting board and show it to recruits as well as tell recruits CNS was retiring
 

RollTide_HTTR

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It's interesting because I think in the NFL an offensive minded HC is the way to win for the most parts nowadays. Offense is just extremely important and good OCs are constantly poached for HC jobs. (there are always exceptions)

However, in college it seems to work out differently. There are probably a variety of reasons for this. But it seems like having a good defense is actually more important.
 

Marg

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He was only in Baton Rouge for a few years and Les Miles was able to maintain what Saban built for several years. That gives me hope that whoever takes over can maintain for close to a decade. With all of that said my first choice would be Kiffin as well
Unfortunately, I believe NIL and NCAA changes make this unlikely anymore. While the stability in the program offices would be set (admin staff, etc), the players are a different matter. It's no longer 2004 when a coach can leave and the new coach have their recruits for several years to keep the ball rolling. As seen as recently as the LSU basketball program, it only takes one major event and you'll see a mass exodus of players. Yes, I know penalties on top of the coaching change played a large part for LSU, but it's still a fair comparison considering how monumental CNS leaving would be. I have a fear that when CNS retires, there's going to be a ton of players in the portal very soon afterwards. Only way to combat that is to have the retirement and successor announcements at or near the same time. Otherwise, I could see a lot of players cutting bait (getting poached) and the cupboard being bare in short order.

I gave up a long time ago thinking I knew anything about coaching searches. However, I'd vote for Aranda if he's able to maintain his momentum. Kiffin is impressive on the offensive side of the ball, but I'd cringe every time he had a news conference or got on twitter. I enjoyed Sark as an OC but am still waiting to see him put a string of solid years together as head coach (WA was a long time ago). Aside from them, I just don't know. I'm not considering Day or Smart as I don't see any reason for either of them to leave their current positions.
 

BamaMoon

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As coach Stallings says, "there are many ways to win". Until recently, I believed that a defensive-minded coach was the best way to win consistantly. I still believe a defense first mindset plays the best with the Alabama fanbase. However, the rules of college football have fundamentally changed. It might very well be better to go with an offensive-minded guy these days as the rules have been skewed in favor of scoring.

One could view the success of Kirby Smart this year as a Stallings-like aberration. A generational defense and a serviceable offense that complemented it. However, this might change as he has now proven himself and his recruiting is off the charts. We'll see if he attempts to follow Saban's plan and go after top QBs and a high powered offense or if he believes Saban is fundamentally mistaken in his new direction.

Of whichever side the ball the head coach is a disciple, he is at the mercy of his counterpart. For my entire life, defense has always proven to be the most consistant winner. Now, I'm not so sure. I remember Spurrier could never win the big one until he got Bob Stoops to come in and run the defense (and basically the program). Even Bob Stoops changed his tune when he realized how many points you had to be prepared to score EVERY WEEK in the Big 12. So far we haven't seen a Sark or Ryan Day or Kiffin win championships consistently. Saban is betting against Kirby and with Bob Stoops. Which tells me (if our coach is correct) that Saban is more of a Unicorn than he already was if he keeps winning like he has. He has established Alabama as a juggernaut but he is totally at the mercy of his O coordinator. If he has a Sark or a Kiffin (or even a Locksley), he's a god. If he has a Nuss, he's an also-ran. Could be, nowadays if you're an offensive genius you only need a seviceable D coach who can recruit his butt off and if you are able to competently run a program, you're better off than the reverse. Time will tell.
Quality post! I enjoyed your reasoning behind it!
 

DogPatch

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My top five, if Saban retired at the end of the season.

1. Lane Kiffin: I think the best choice right now.
2. Billy Napier. I know he hasn't done anything at Florida yet, but I've just got a feeling he's going to be the best coach in the SEC East sooner, rather than later. Also, if he progresses like I believe he will, he becomes my #1 in about 3 years.
3. Luke Fickell: I like what he's done at Cincinnati, and his experience running OSU for Tressell is a big plus.
4. Dave Aranda: My limited knowledge of him prevents him from being higher on my list, but he could wind up being the best replacement. I like what he's established at Baylor, and if he can sustain it, he'll be running a top 5 program in 3 years.
5. Kalen DeBoer: My wild card. He hasn't done much at the D1 level (Fresno St.: 3-3, 9-3), but I like his winning percentage, even if it was in the NAIA. Four straight trips to the NAIA championship with 3 wins is a great start to a coaching career. If Saban hangs around for 3-5 more years, the sample size on DeBoer at UW should be large enough to have a decent idea.
 

CB4

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I think in some ways we need to consider who WOULD want come in, don the crown and follow CNS. We often make jokes about those that take over the reigns of a bottom dwelling, dumpster fire program. We often think “who wants to climb into that mess?”

Much the same can be said of the guy that follows CNS. Everyday will be dealing with the highest of expectations from administration, to players, to boosters and fans. And many would say “Wow who wants to climb to that? Even if you win you can’t win. You’ll always be in CNS shadow.

As @crimsonaudio stated, the new coach will be inheriting a Ferrari of a program. Everyone wants to be the guy getting to drive that “Ferrari”. No one wants be remembered at the guy that “ran the Ferrari into the ditch and left it there”.

All of good Tidefans should include Mal Moore in their prayers each night for his recognition that CNS was the right man at the right time for Alabama. And I believe that is certainly what we will need in the next coach. A guy who is his own man, with “the my way or the Highway” control on the program, a keen eye for talent, the ability to improve that talent and above all the ability to prepare to win each game. No he does not need to be a Nick saving clone, but he’ll need many of those same attributes.

Who that is at this time? I have no earthly idea. I’m not that smart.

One final thing. Nick Saban did not build this program into the dynasty that it is by at any particular point resting on his laurels. There were times that he simply out worked the other guy. And the new person coming in best understand that will be the expectation among this Fanbase and others.

yep we are going to give you the key to the Ferrari. But you damn well better change the oil, rotate the tires, wash and wax, detail it, and make sure it’s ready to go every Saturday at the top speed.
 
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CrimsonEyeshade

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After how Kiffin comported himself at Alabama -- particularly his inexplicable behavior leading up to the 2016 semi-final against Washington that got him fired -- I don't how any Alabama fan, much less the university's leaders, would trust him with a dormitory meal ticket, much less the controls of the football program.
 

DawgAlum2054

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They didn't t take pictures of our recruiting board and show it to recruits as well as tell recruits CNS was retiring
I don't think that was the reason for the "does less with more" comments or "cant win the big game" comments that I don't see going around for Ryan Day or Lincoln Riley
 

DawgAlum2054

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as a slightly off topic. I think Billy Napier could be good, but I don't think he will get that opportunity at Florida. What I mean by that is that Mullen really set the program back as far as recruiting goes. Napier will need several years just to get recruits in and coached up, and I am not sure Florida will give him the time he truly needs.
 

colbysullivan

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After how Kiffin comported himself at Alabama -- particularly his inexplicable behavior leading up to the 2016 semi-final against Washington that got him fired -- I don't how any Alabama fan, much less the university's leaders, would trust him with a dormitory meal ticket, much less the controls of the football program.
He cost us the title in 2014 too. Then again, I don’t think any other OC could have led Blake Sims to the playoffs, sooooooo….
 

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