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All Coaches Make Mistakes… Even Alabama’s Saban

Alabama v AuburnPeruse the messageboards or dial up the talk radio shows revolving around a down-and-out or middle-of-the-pack SEC program and you’ll soon find that the local coach is a Grade A nitwit.  Every move the guy makes gets questioned.


Why’d he switch to the spread?

Why’d he switch from the spread?

Why’d he call a draw on third-and-15?

Why’d he not go for it on fourth down?

Why’d he not take the ball to start the game?


On and on.

Coaches at mid-range or low-range programs get it from all sides.  That’s because they lose games and lost games leave people with questions.  They also leave folks with doubts about their head coach and/or his assistants.

But here’s the rub – All coaches make goofy decisions.  And they do it all the time.  But those with more talent usually win their games and, therefore, have to defend far fewer decisions.

Take LSU’s Les Miles as the world’s greatest example.  When the Tigers are loaded with talent, his “What the Hell’s he doing?” gambles are viewed as genius.  No wonder.  His top 10 teams have had the ability to make dumb decisions work.  Anyone remember this unfathomable decision from 2007:


LSU vs. Auburn 2007 – Flynn to Byrd


Instead of kicking a 39-yard field goal with time expiring, Miles threw into the end zone.  Now let’s say that pass had fallen incomplete.  And that the clock operator let one more digit drop off the clock.  LSU loses the game.  But Miles had a BCS champion team on his hands.  So that crazy ol’ Mad Hatter was doggone brilliant!  That last-second heave helped keep the Tigers’ title hopes alive.

Why point all this out today?  Because the greatest coach in the country — perhaps the greatest college football coach ever — just botched his team’s shot at a third-straight national title.  After Saturday’s 34-28 loss to Auburn, Nick Saban talked about a lot of mistakes that his team had made on the field and on the game-deciding play.  But the biggest mistakes were made over on the sideline in the space between Saban’s headphones.

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2013 Signing Class: LSU’s Target Zone

target-with-dartsLSU added 27 players from 11 different states on Wednesday and Thursday.  A breakdown of the Tigers’ “target zone” is below:


Louisiana = 12 recruits

California = 2

Florida = 2

Georgia = 2

Mississippi = 2

North Carolina = 2

Illinois = 1

Nebraska = 1

New Jersey = 1

Tennessee = 1

Virginia = 1


In-State Signees = 44.4%

Out-Of-State Signees = 55.5%



Aside from Nick Saban, is there anyone in the SEC who makes recruiting look this easy year-in and year-out?  Credit Saban for kickstarting the juggernaut on the Bayou, but Miles has continued to land just about any top Louisiana prospect he goes after.  This year he inked seven of the state’s top 10 recruits and it would have been eight if defensive back Jeremy Cutrer hadn’t had to go the juco route to qualify.  There’s nothing mad about Miles’ recruiting hat.  He wears it well.

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