In college football, players come and go, and it’s the coaches who are more likely to become the lasting face of a particular team. Adding to this is the common college football notion of coaching “systems.” Coaching in the NFL is more about coordinators and their “schemes”– the Wide Nine really isn’t a defensive “system,” and the Wildcat really isn’t an offensive one, though it may be offensive to some– although coaches have developed systems at that level, including Bill Walsh’s West Coast offense and Tony Dungy’s Tampa 2. Systems certainly are in play at the high school level, but they frequently are crazy and not at all viable even at the college level. Think Wing-T, A-11, and, of course, the Wishbone.
The major college level is the Goldilocks of coaching systems, however, and along with this comes coaching personalities and attitudes that can influence the on-field performance of the impressionable, yet quite capable yoots.
This installment of our ongoing coverage of LSU vs. Alabama, the de facto national championship, therefore focuses on the two coaches, and the only thing Les Miles and Nick Saban appear to have in common is running pro-level, national-championship-winning teams in the SEC West. (I suppose there are other things, including coaching at LSU– which Saban did from 2000 to 2004– and being a part of coaching controversies– Saban has ditched Michigan State, LSU, and the Miami Dolphins and left those fan bases less than thrilled with him, and Miles, perhaps the most erratic person publicly known as a “Michigan Man,” had his alma mater twice hang him out to dry.) Saban is stone-faced and stone-hearted, workmanlike, never happy. Miles is goofy, without a sense of time, unpredictable, grass-eating, the Mad Hatter.
I’ve posted some material critical of Clay Travis before, but one thing he does well is attempt to capture the personalities of sports figures, and his writeup this week on Saban and Miles succeeds in that regard. It’s linked below, following the video clip from that post of a Les Miles press conference in which he is distracted by women entering the room and first explains his practice of eating grass:
By Clay Travis —
You’re either a Nick Saban guy or a Les Miles guy.
As the Grass Bowl inches closer and the biggest regular season game in SEC history nears, it’s become an incontrovertible fact, you’re riding with Les or you’re rolling with Saban. The single most fascinating aspect to this game is the extreme differences between the two men helming their respective teams. One man coaches based on rigorous gameplanning and data points, the other believes in football karma, the gods of the sod. … Read More
(via Outkick The Coverage)
Previous de facto national championship coverage
The de facto national championship — 11/1