By J.M. Comer
Oops, sorry about that. Back it up. False start! Let’s try it again.
Nick [reverent pause] Saban.
The University of Alabama’s head football coach. Author. Husband. Father. The Lord of Sabanation. The Sabanator. Saint Saban. The $4 million man.
A man of few words and seemingly fewer suits.
But what is a man? Some say it means being prepared to do the right thing, whatever the price. Jeffery Lebowski, co-author of the original Port Huron Statement, jests it takes that and a pair of testicles.
What makes a good coach?
A curtailed look at Nick Saban’s years as a head football coach offers us this information:
* Entering this weekend’s game, his overall coaching record stands at 98-46-1.
* Before becoming head coach this year at Alabama his college coaching stints were at Toledo (1990), Michigan State (1995-99) and LSU (2000-04). As the coach at Michigan State, his record against rival University of Michigan was 2-3. His record at LSU against Auburn was 2-3.
* Saban left LSU in 2004 and took a job with the Miami Dolphins. He coached the Fins to a two-year record of 15-17.
This series of short columns will examine the opinions of those who have taken Nick Saban into the fold and those who have examined his ideas, vision and successes and failures on the football field. These football experts will offer us Auburn Tiger fans an idea of what makes Alabama’s new coach tick. What stirs Saban’s passions? His soul? Does he lie awake at night in fear? Or would his posed restlessness be a product of the anticipation of rewarding days ahead? Days rich with riches and richy richness.
Who is this leader of the Capstone?
In order to get a clear idea, separated from the passions and biases of the college football world, I first decided to try and look at the opinions of fans, media types and coaches in the world of the National Football League. But mostly, this examination should focus on the words of the unbiased fans of the Miami Dolphins and their two-year relationship with Saban. Surely they still view him as a true master of the gridiron.
Nick Saban, in a word or two
“Liar,” said ESPN’s Pat Forde.
“A mediocrity as a coach,” said respected sports journalist Frank DeFord of Sports Illustrated and contributer to National Public Radio.
“Greasy, dishonorable and cowardly,” said Dan Le Batard of the Miami Herald.
Hall of Fame Coach Don Sula in an interview agreed that Saban could be described as “a raging fraud.”
These are just four examples of the multitude of glowing terms by respected men in media and the NFL football world.
But what does the average Dolphins fan think of Saban?
Sadly, my search quickly was ended by the exuberant language of Dolphins fans, which cannot be properly displayed on this family Web site. But we at The War Eagle Reader will try to cultivate a civil representation of their words in some fashion before our two-week celebration of all things Iron Bowl draws to a close.
The eye of the eagle sees all!
War Eagle, dear reader!
A side note: Two reasons to watch football this Sunday
1) Redskins QB Jason Campbell will lead his tribe into Dallas-Arlington-whatever to play the Cowgirls. It could get ugly. Or, or! our boy J-Cam could lead his team to glorious victory in the face of overwhelming odds.
2) Brodie Croyle will start for the Kansas City Chiefs this week against the … wait for it … Indianapolis Colts. I, for one, plan to wear my Roman toga and drink my Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA from a gold cup. Croyle will be thrown to the wolves for my pleasure.