I hate to plagiarize. So I won’t! But I recently read an article on another site (which I won’t name) that is music to my ears. I think it’s so big that I had to share it with you if you can’t go and read it for yourself. The author (which I won’t name) stated two things:
The first thing he stated was his confirmation what I think all of us suspected. Nick Saban is no dummy. His program is VASTLY different than ours and most other teams in college football. The article explains that when Nick Saban came to bama in 2007 he created his program to reflect the NFL. While that seems logical, it was pretty advanced thinking.
As all coaches do, Saban hired his staff. If you watch him, he hires great assistant coaches that all had the titles and pay that went with the job. But Saban did something else. He turned bama’s G.As into real coaches who were given real responsibilities. While that may not be totally original thinking, Saban made it work to his purpose. And that WAS new.
The author goes on to state that over the next five years Saban hired many more valuable people in more low-profile roles who would assist the program in ways never imagined. Who? What? Ok. Call it a support network. A machine. These folks are closely associated with what some would call a “quality control” system.
So what you say? AU has folks like this right? No, not really. As you will see, this is how Saban has really exploited the “system” of winning.
As Saban achieved success on the field he began to manipulate bama’s vast piles of money and used it to in an attempt to perpetuate that success. His coaching budget grew. And he used the money to get more folks doing the “low profile” jobs supporting the program. This year, before the season kicked off bama had in place an entire second staff of football experts.
They currently employ nine men who act as “analyst”. Specifically they have five offensive and three defensive folks and one for special teams. Each person has different additional duties. Primarily they serve as football strategist who breaks down film of opponents, Bama, and other teams while cataloging their tendencies into a database.
That’s why they are so prepared. Doesn’t that sound like someone in the NFL? Let’s just call Nick Saban the Bill Belichick of college football.
Some of the additional duties they have are to act as liaisons with high schools, coaches and their staffs. They are charged with building a strong bridge of communication to these high school programs – even the schools that don’t have prospective players that bama wants. They spread the “good news” about bama’s program and speak on Saban’s behalf. Hell, they can even get Saban to respond if it is required. This system is actively working TODAY.
Let’s say that a high school in Birmingham hires a new football coach. It’s these analysts job to physically shake his hand and introduce themselves and bama so that if the coach has any questions he knows who to go to. They do this sometimes within 24 hours of the coach being hired. The whole idea is that bama has built an extensive network in state.
Where it gets interesting is that one must ask the question: well how does this “network” help the high school coach? These “analyst” can provide assistance in answering the coach’s questions about offense, defense, techniques, training regimens…. You know, the things that help these coaches get better. Let me ask you, if you were a high school coach and knew this was out there will you ignore the help or take it knowing what it has produced at bama? Yeah… me too. And when they do take the advice what they are really doing is helping mold the player using Saban’s model.
Pretty damned smart if I do say so. Bama has qualified guys touching every high school in the state. And they aren’t talking directly to the player. They are doing even better – they are talking and working with the coach. As the author emphasizes: It’s all about the coaches and the programs. And that my friend pays bama huge dividends. That is how Saban has dominated recruiting.
The second thing the author states is that Gus Malzahn has taken notice. You would have to be a “Ray Charles” wannabe to say you haven’t noticed the difference. To illustrate the point, Auburn currently has some personnel making contact with high schools… but it is woefully behind that of bama. It can’t compare in form or fit. To date it has only ensured that high school coaches were informed about camps and then provided support to them on an a as-needed basis. Does anyone else see the inequity? Does it explain things a bit more clearly??
It’s amazing that Tuberville refused to see what Saban was doing. Chizik apparently understood that recruiting was important… but he too failed to see the “how” Saban was repeatedly beating him in recruiting.
Thankfully Malzahn is in the process of making Auburn’s “second staff”. Auburn has recently allocated a new pool of funds approaching “seven figures per year” to build that auxiliary staff that will help Auburn to be more competitive in recruiting. It is anticipated that Auburn’s second team will be fully functional next year. And AU will start its own campaign to promote Auburn in a way that mirrors to some degree they way Saban has done.
The author goes on to state that the system will be fully in place and established by the class of 2014. He also states that the thing that made this a reality at AU was the changes the NCAA made in how recruiting will operate. “The NCAA earlier this month approved several pieces of legislation that streamlined how programs recruit prospects. Specifically, Proposal 11-2 created the ability for certain people other than the head coach or assistant coaches to begin evaluating and directly communicating (via telephone) with football prospects. “
On August 1st Auburn’s auxiliary staff will be permitted to contact recruits directly. This is going to revolutionize how we have recruited for the past 20-30 years. While bonds with recruits will still be utilized directly with the “coaches”, more importantly these lines of communication will be enhanced with people who are knowledgeable about the program thereby building Auburn’s network.
Some folks will think that this will yield instant success. That is highly doubtful. Auburn has some catching up to do with bama – plain and simple. Auburn will have to “refine its protocols, design effective territories, and create methods of getting information to assistant coaches who interact with recruits”. That kind of “system” simply isn’t hatched.
But by doing this Malzahn is keeping Auburn at the table in the SEC. We WILL be in a position to win more battles. Heck, even this year, AU conceded less than last year and the years before.
ADAPT. IMPROVISE. OVERCOME!
Whether we like it or not… that IS what Auburn must do to stay relevant in the SEC under the shadow of the bama’s, LSU’s and Florida’s. Regardless, the news is welcomed! It’s further proof that AU is heading in the right direction!!! And that my friend’s is good news indeed!