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Saint ATN

Congratulations Clemson Tigers!

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That was absolutely fun to watch the total and complete dismantling of one of Saban's best-assembled teams ever. Credit Clemson and their coaching staff for being very ready whereas Bamas coaches are left wondering where they're gonna be next season. 

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5 minutes ago, sailorsaint said:

What a blueprint Clemson has given everyone. That was totally dominant.

Clemson has 3 #1 picks on their D-line and Bamas secondary is young. Most likely a repeat next year sadly. 

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3 hours ago, bigbrod81 said:

I never thought I would ever see Nick Saban out coached in a big game nor see one of his teams get utterly dominated in the trenches on both sides of the ball.

It really is a credit to Dabo Swinney.  At a time where fans of all teams, fans who really watch College Football, see Saban and Bama as virtually indestructible, Swinney has totally proven that wrong by building his own program.  It was easy to look at the great win with Deshaun Watson and say, "See, the only way to beat Bama is if you have a phenom at QB."  And Trevor Lawrence appears to potentially be the next phenom.  But the Clemson program can compete with anyone and get 10% of the publicity.  As an LSU fan, I'm jealous of them (in a positive manner).

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On 1/7/2019 at 11:08 PM, faceman said:

Clemson has 3 #1 picks on their D-line and Bamas secondary is young. Most likely a repeat next year sadly. 

Ohio St may have a say in that next season. I know they are losing Dwayne Haskins & Urban Meyer but besides that they return a lot. They also added 5* QB Justin Fields from UGA. 

Watch out for Washington in the PAC-12 next year. Jake Browning never fully developed into the QB most thought he would. His played sorta slowed down that Huskie offense. Now UW is the hands of Jacob Eason who is another former 5* UGA QB. Eason got hurt which opened the door for Jake Fromm & that lead to Eason's transfer out of Georgia. The PAC-12 has 2 teams who consistently pack a defense. That's Washington & Utah. If the Huskies can get a vertical passing game to go along with that defense, they could run the table & be a threat in the CFP.

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1 hour ago, Dru said:

It really is a credit to Dabo Swinney.  At a time where fans of all teams, fans who really watch College Football, see Saban and Bama as virtually indestructible, Swinney has totally proven that wrong by building his own program.  It was easy to look at the great win with Deshaun Watson and say, "See, the only way to beat Bama is if you have a phenom at QB."  And Trevor Lawrence appears to potentially be the next phenom.  But the Clemson program can compete with anyone and get 10% of the publicity.  As an LSU fan, I'm jealous of them (in a positive manner).

Dabo is doing it in a different way. His own way & as a fan of college football, it's fun to watch. He is having fun, his staff is having fun & his players are having fun yet when they step on the field, its all business.

For the past few years, I really thought Dabo would replace Saban once Saban retired at Alabama. I thought he would "go home to momma" but that win Monday night may have changed all of that. Dabo now has 2 Nattys at Clemson, a great core of kids coming back for 2019 & more talent coming in during next few recruiting classes. Why should he leave Clemson? He is already getting SEC type recruiting classes/talent. The ACC is so down right now that Clemson basically has a clear path to CFP easily for the next 3-4 years. He is already a legend at Clemson. He has a great coaching staff lead by DC Brent Venables. He is making good money already & I'm sure the school is probably working on a raise & extension as we speak. Dabo is living the good life so why mess up a good to come be in dogfights every weekend in the SEC?

On to Nick Saban. I think we are finally beginning to see the first cracks in the empire he has built in Tuscaloosa. There's so many people who don't even realize that Saban is 67 years old. He looked very much on the verge of being burned out on the sidelines against Clemson. His halftime interview made no sense whatsoever when he said Clemson was running copycat plays against the Tide that other teams had success with yet they hadn't prepared for. What?! He had to have known Clemson would use similar pass plays that both Georgia & Oklahoma had success with against Bama. Was he throwing members of his own staff under the bus, saying their game plans were not up to par? A hands on control freak like Saban would never allow a game plan without his approval. Yet after the game, he took the blame saying to failed to have his team prepared for the game. He was all over the place. 

That leads me to my next point. Saban has gone through assistant coaches over the years like there is no tomorrow yet the beat went on. It finally caught up to him which is why we saw the Alabama players seem totally unprepared for Clemson. This had to be the worse staff Saban has had since his Michigan St. days. It became obvious that the Tide used superior talent to get by this season yet when the talent was close or equal, they struggled mightily at times because they didn't have the coaching advantages like past seasons. That defense stunk against UGA, Oklahoma & Clemson while their high powered offense sputtered for long periods too.

This run of excellence for Saban at Alabama is pushing 10 years now. That's a lot of longer seasons than most schools (college coaches). Also, recruiting is a year round affair. It's not just about the upcoming class, coaches begin relationships with kids in high school 2-3 years prior to their senior year. That's a lot of work especially when you are only after the best of the best. It has been a grind to get all those #1 recruiting classes over the past decade. Sooner or later all that work catches up. Look at Bob Stoops & Urban Meyer. 67 years old, maybe that point is upon us.

In 2019, Bama will still be the team to beat in the SEC. They have too much returning for next year but after seeing how Clemson put it on them, that aura of invincibility is gone. The Tide were beating some teams before they even got off the bus simply due to intimidation. Teams won't be intimidated any longer especially those with similar talent.

It's also about to get harder for Saban to pull in those #1 recruiting classes. Opposing coaches are about to begin using his age against him. They will tell kids, "why go to Alabama? Do you know how old Nick Saban is? He is close to retirement. Did you see how burned out he looked against Clemson?" Or "You can come here to win a title. Alabama isn't the only school capable of winning. Look at what Clemson did to them twice." Or "Look at Saban's staff, it's just not good anymore. Look at how unprepared they were on the biggest stage."

Speaking of UGA & OU, Alabama got extremely lucky that Kirby Smart sh*ts his pants in big games. UGA twice has gone ultra conservative with big leads on Alabama losing both games in the end. If UGA keeps their foot on the gas, Alabama loses in blowout fashion in the SEC Championship Game. 

Lincoln Riley hasn't shown what it takes to win in big games either. He got conservative last year in the Rose Bowl when Oklahoma had a chance to win the game in regulation then continued to be conservative in OT. This year he wasn't conservative, he just failed to get his team emotionally fired up. OU slept walked in the 1st quarter & it cost them. 28-0 ended up being too much to comeback from but OU did rally to make it game which started immediately after Riley lite into the whole team on the sideline in the 2nd quarter. That should have happened in the lockeroom pregame. Had OU not come out lifeless, the game probably is final possession game, going down to the wire.

 

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1 hour ago, bigbrod81 said:

Dabo is doing it in a different way. His own way & as a fan of college football, it's fun to watch. He is having fun, his staff is having fun & his players are having fun yet when they step on the field, its all business.

For the past few years, I really thought Dabo would replace Saban once Saban retired at Alabama. I thought he would "go home to momma" but that win Monday night may have changed all of that. Dabo now has 2 Nattys at Clemson, a great core of kids coming back for 2019 & more talent coming in during next few recruiting classes. Why should he leave Clemson? He is already getting SEC type recruiting classes/talent. The ACC is so down right now that Clemson basically has a clear path to CFP easily for the next 3-4 years. He is already a legend at Clemson. He has a great coaching staff lead by DC Brent Venables. He is making good money already & I'm sure the school is probably working on a raise & extension as we speak. Dabo is living the good life so why mess up a good to come be in dogfights every weekend in the SEC?

On to Nick Saban. I think we are finally beginning to see the first cracks in the empire he has built in Tuscaloosa. There's so many people who don't even realize that Saban is 67 years old. He looked very much on the verge of being burned out on the sidelines against Clemson. His halftime interview made no sense whatsoever when he said Clemson was running copycat plays against the Tide that other teams had success with yet they hadn't prepared for. What?! He had to have known Clemson would use similar pass plays that both Georgia & Oklahoma had success with against Bama. Was he throwing members of his own staff under the bus, saying their game plans were not up to par? A hands on control freak like Saban would never allow a game plan without his approval. Yet after the game, he took the blame saying to failed to have his team prepared for the game. He was all over the place. 

That leads me to my next point. Saban has gone through assistant coaches over the years like there is no tomorrow yet the beat went on. It finally caught up to him which is why we saw the Alabama players seem totally unprepared for Clemson. This had to be the worse staff Saban has had since his Michigan St. days. It became obvious that the Tide used superior talent to get by this season yet when the talent was close or equal, they struggled mightily at times because they didn't have the coaching advantages like past seasons. That defense stunk against UGA, Oklahoma & Clemson while their high powered offense sputtered for long periods too.

This run of excellence for Saban at Alabama is pushing 10 years now. That's a lot of longer seasons than most schools (college coaches). Also, recruiting is a year round affair. It's not just about the upcoming class, coaches begin relationships with kids in high school 2-3 years prior to their senior year. That's a lot of work especially when you are only after the best of the best. It has been a grind to get all those #1 recruiting classes over the past decade. Sooner or later all that work catches up. Look at Bob Stoops & Urban Meyer. 67 years old, maybe that point is upon us.

In 2019, Bama will still be the team to beat in the SEC. They have too much returning for next year but after seeing how Clemson put it on them, that aura of invincibility is gone. The Tide were beating some teams before they even got off the bus simply due to intimidation. Teams won't be intimidated any longer especially those with similar talent.

It's also about to get harder for Saban to pull in those #1 recruiting classes. Opposing coaches are about to begin using his age against him. They will tell kids, "why go to Alabama? Do you know how old Nick Saban is? He is close to retirement. Did you see how burned out he looked against Clemson?" Or "You can come here to win a title. Alabama isn't the only school capable of winning. Look at what Clemson did to them twice." Or "Look at Saban's staff, it's just not good anymore. Look at how unprepared they were on the biggest stage."

Speaking of UGA & OU, Alabama got extremely lucky that Kirby Smart sh*ts his pants in big games. UGA twice has gone ultra conservative with big leads on Alabama losing both games in the end. If UGA keeps their foot on the gas, Alabama loses in blowout fashion in the SEC Championship Game. 

Lincoln Riley hasn't shown what it takes to win in big games either. He got conservative last year in the Rose Bowl when Oklahoma had a chance to win the game in regulation then continued to be conservative in OT. This year he wasn't conservative, he just failed to get his team emotionally fired up. OU slept walked in the 1st quarter & it cost them. 28-0 ended up being too much to comeback from but OU did rally to make it game which started immediately after Riley lite into the whole team on the sideline in the 2nd quarter. That should have happened in the lockeroom pregame. Had OU not come out lifeless, the game probably is final possession game, going down to the wire.

 

Some harsh opinions, but none that I would go against.  Maybe with the exception of Saban and his age.  That is a person by person thing, because I see Pete Carroll still with energy and passion for his work.  Total 180 when we're talking about peronalities.  

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12 hours ago, Dru said:

Some harsh opinions, but none that I would go against.  Maybe with the exception of Saban and his age.  That is a person by person thing, because I see Pete Carroll still with energy and passion for his work.  Total 180 when we're talking about peronalities.  

Pete no longer has to worry about the year long grind of recruiting. He has time to step away & recharge his batteries. The NFL Combine is a month & a half away. National signing day is just a few weeks away with Bama having several spots to fill. There's lots of work to do specifically when it comes down to the battle for Amite's 5* DT Ishmael Sopsher. It's going to be a down the wire battle between LSU & Alabama. Saban also has to find coaching replacements for OC Mike Locksley who is going be the HC at Maryland, OL coach Brent Key who is going to Georgia Tech & WR coach Josh Gattis. The grind is continuing & once again, Saban is having to deal with more turnover on his staff.

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It's well known that Nick Saban is incredibly difficult to work with.  Learn a lot?  Of course.  Can it catapult your career to better positions, opportunities and money?  Certainly.  But he just wears people out.  It is common for coaches to only be able to work with him for so long.

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3 minutes ago, Dru said:

It's well known that Nick Saban is incredibly difficult to work with.  Learn a lot?  Of course.  Can it catapult your career to better positions, opportunities and money?  Certainly.  But he just wears people out.  It is common for coaches to only be able to work with him for so long.

Yes, he is very demanding & high strung which is why I wonder how much longer he can continue keeping the Alabama program at such a high level. The person who will know first is his wife Terry. If she ever feels it's time for him to walk away, he will. I really think that time is nearing. What more does he have to accomplish? Passing the Bear in National Championships? That's about it.

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Opinion: Alabama lost to Clemson because nobody saw 'oil leaking or bald tires' on defense

 

 Way back in October, when Alabama was rolling over opponent after opponent and everyone was marveling at the Crimson Tide’s new offensive approach – and especially, the fantastic results – Nick Saban issued a warning.

“Everybody sees the pretty convertible, or the pretty girls driving it,” he said. “But nobody sees the oil leaking or the bald tires.”

Monday night, the machine malfunctioned. After Clemson’s 44-16 victory in the College Football Playoff national championship game, all of those issues he’d worried about were suddenly evident. And so was this:

In the debate over whether this was Saban’s best team, we missed that it was instead one of his most flawed. Buried beneath all that offense, all year long, was a defense that, by Alabama’s lofty standards, at least was pedestrian.

It didn’t matter for most of the season, as Tua Tagovailoa and all of those other talented playmakers routinely shredded opponents. But Monday, against an offense at least as powerful as ’Bama and a quarterback in Trevor Lawrence who is at least as good as Tua, a glaring deficiency was exposed.

Lawrence threw for 347 yards and three touchdowns. Clemson piled up a total of 482. Alabama allowed six plays of at least 20 yards, including TD passes of 62 and 74 yards. With a four-man rush from a highly regarded line, Lawrence was rarely pressured.

Afterward, the Alabama locker room was a mixture of shock and defiance. During postgame interviews, player after player parroted similar lines: They just needed to execute better. Defensive end Raekwon Davis, as one example, started with this: “We just got whupped.” But then he continued:

“Nobody did their job. The pass rush, the run stop, it wasn’t there. … We weren’t prepared. It was just us. It wasn’t anything they were doing. We killed ourselves.”

Davis probably didn’t intend to slight Lawrence or his teammates. And Davis wasn’t necessarily wrong. Alabama’s defense did not execute. But it’s because against the best offenses it faced, this year’s unit was not capable of the kind of execution required.

The statistics did not necessarily reflect it for most of the season. But after Monday’s loss, Alabama finished the season ranked 16th in total defense, allowing an average of 319.5 yards. In the more telling stat, the Tide allowed almost 5 yards a play (4.89, 24th). Clemson averaged 7.7.

It was a sharp departure from what we’ve seen throughout the Tide’s reign. A very young secondary did not measure up to what we’ve seen in the past. While Quinnen Williams emerged as a monster at nose guard, the defensive front was shy on depth.

And attrition on the coaching staff might have been as important. Among the fascinating things about Alabama during Saban’s tenure has been how assistant coaches change but the Tide keeps rolling along, but we might finally be seeing the effect of all the departures.

In the last three years, Alabama has lost defensive coordinators Kirby Smart and Jeremy Pruitt to head-coaching jobs. So Saban elevated Tosh Lupoi, who had never called formations.

“There’s still the old fundamental that good pitching beats good hitting,” Saban told USA TODAY in October. “You’ve got to keep from getting beat sometimes before you win.”

That had always been Alabama’s formula: defense-first, and the offense will eventually score points. This season, everything got turned upside down.

And for most of the season, those leaks weren’t easily seen. It didn’t seem to matter.

But no matter the formula, that’s almost always been true during Saban’s tenure. The perception is the SEC schedule is a tough gauntlet; the reality is Alabama routinely rolls through almost all of it.

The Tide’s defensive issues weren’t critical until the Playoff. Go back a few days to that Orange Bowl semifinal against Oklahoma. The Crimson Tide grabbed a 28-0 first-half lead, and it was over. But in retrospect, the defense was exposed, even in the win.

It took Kyler Murray and the Sooners too long to crank up, and Oklahoma’s defense was too terrible for it to matter, anyway. But Saban seemed obviously relieved after winning the semifinal – did you see him, almost giddy, tossing oranges to people from that stage during the postgame trophy presentation?

It might have been a clue. He was very concerned about Oklahoma’s potential to damage the Tide, and what might have happened in a full-on shootout.

Monday, we saw why. Clemson’s defense rattled Tagovailoa – and it seemed, Alabama’s coaches, too – into mistakes. When Alabama’s offense could not keep up, it was over, because the defense was not good enough to slow Lawrence.

When he met Saban at midfield following the game, Clemson's Dabo Swinney told his rival, “See you next year,” and he’s probably right. Tagovailoa returns. The offense figures to be highly potent once again. But even with all of those weapons, there will be soul-searching in Tuscaloosa during the offseason, and perhaps some retro-fitting, too.

With the bulk of the defense returning, as well as the annual infusion of new talent, no one should be shocked if the Tide is much improved in 2019. But staff changes would not be a surprise, either. Nor would at least a slight adjustment to the offensive approach. Could Bama revert to more ball control in order to help out the defense?

We’ll see. But Monday brought a jarring revelation of what Saban already knew: This Alabama team wasn’t his best, but instead one of his most flawed. When a leaky defense finally burst, it left a fabulous machine in a smoking heap.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaaf/columnist/george-schroeder/2019/01/09/alabama-defensive-flaws-clemson/2517629002/

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Michigan's Josh Gattis says Nick Saban wasn't thrilled by his departure

New Michigan football offensive coordinator Josh Gattis began last Thursday with plans to take a new job at Maryland. 

Gattis, who turned 35 on Tuesday, had been with Nick Saban and Alabama football as a co-offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach for one season. He left James Franklin's Penn State staff after four years for Tuscaloosa and did so with plans to stay beyond one season. 

But, things happen in college football. And, per Gattis, his former boss was less than thrilled when Gattis agreed to join Jim Harbaugh's staff in Ann Arbor. 

"When coach Harbaugh called, it kind of caught me off guard. I had just left a meeting with Nick Saban getting my butt chewed out for about 20 minutes telling him I was leaving and he was trying to get me to stay. It didn't go over well. So if there was any Band-Aid to the bruise it was that (Harbaugh) phone call," Gattis said during a conversation with Harbaugh on Harbaugh's podcast this week. "It was exciting to hear his voice and get a chance to talk to him personally." 

Harbaugh explained that he had heard Gattis was leaning toward taking a job with former Alabama offensive coordinator Mike Locksley at Maryland before getting in touch with him around 9 a.m. Thursday morning. 

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Alabama head coach Nick Saban

From there, things moved fast. 

"When you know it's right and it hits your gut, it doesn't take long," Gattis added. "I was convicted on this. I had to tell some people 'no' and I had to tell some people I wasn't coming. It was a hard day telling those people I wasn't going to be part of their program because of the previous relationships.

"But when you feel convicted inside that this is the right place you should be, the right staff, the right head coach you want to be around. It helps ease away those concerns. I'm so proud to be here. So proud to have this opportunity. Looking forward to it." 

U-M offered Gattis a three-year deal worth at least $2.9 million. With incentives, Gattis could make more than $4 million during his time at Michigan. He made $525,000 last season at Alabama, so the U-M offer basically doubled his salary. 

Harbaugh also offered him an opportunity to "run" Michigan's offense as the sole offensive coordinator. 

"By 3:30 (p.m. Thursday), he was coming to Michigan with a signed memorandum of understanding," Harbaugh explained. 

Gattis is the new guy - and the youngest –– on U-M's offensive coaching staff. Pep Hamilton, 44, listed on Michigan's coaching roster, has run the pass game the last two seasons. Now, that job will fall to Gattis. 

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Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh runs off the field before the Peach Bowl on Saturday, Dec. 29, 2018, in Atlanta.

Harbaugh did not address what Hamilton's role will be on his podcast – and he hasn't talked with the media since a season-ending loss to Florida in the Peach Bowl last month when he said he didn't anticipate any offseason coaching changes. 

Michigan offensive line coach Ed Warinner was in control of the run game last season. How all that meshes going forward remains to be seen. 

Either way, Gattis says he's felt right at home. 

"I think our chemistry (as a staff) is one of the things that's important. Those guys have been open-armed to me and my family," Gattis said on the podcast. "This is, by far, the most hospitable staff that I've been around. From checking on you with little things, making sure the family was OK. Coming up here with my wife and kids for the first time, that was something I was a little bit hesitant on. Coach called and said 'hey, look, I want to make sure your family comes up here.' 

"That doesn't happen quite often in college football. Usually, with new hires, you dive all in. You put yourself in a room and don't see your family for two months. ... I want my kids to be in this environment because it's been so welcoming." 

In terms of familiarity with the roster, Gattis says he's familiar with Michigan's offensive skill players – explaining how he recruited receivers Donovan Peoples-Jones and Tarik Black heavily. Nico Collins, also a junior receiver, is from Alabama. 

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In this Sept. 27, 2017, file photo, then-Penn State wide receivers coach Josh Gattis chases his son Jace, 2, following NCAA college football practice, in State College, Pa. Alabama coach Nick Saban had to recruit six assistant coaches during the offseason while elevating two others to coordinator positions. He landed a group he's hoping will help the top-ranked Crimson Tide contend for not only more championships but more of the nation’s top prospects. Gattis, the Alabama co-offensive coordinator/wide receivers, spent six of his eight years coaching under James Franklin at Vanderbilt and Penn State. 

U-M's team is back on campus this week as winter conditioning begins. Gattis noted on the podcast he'll hit the road to begin his recruiting path with Michigan on Tuesday as coaches are now in a contact period until Feb. 2. 

Gattis has no experience as a full-time offensive coordinator. However, he is noted as one of the top young recruiters in the game.

"I think the plan is to see some of the signees that aren't on campus, obviously, and then get ahead on the 2020 class," Gattis said. "And getting into some areas where I already have some previous relationships. Whether that be in the south or in (Pennsylvania). Trying to bring as much value as I can to (our recruiting).

"Just making sure we're recruiting the best student-athletes I can for the University of Michigan, that's my goal. ... We're going to make sure not only we're coaching our offensive players at the highest level, but we're recruiting at the highest level." 

https://www.freep.com/story/sports/college/university-michigan/wolverines/2019/01/15/michigan-football-josh-gattis-nick-saban-alabama/2579795002/

 

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