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#pounditSaturday, July 31, 2021

Nick Saban says defense no longer key to winning in college football

Nick Saban

Nick Saban has long been recognized as one of the best defensive coaches in football. His success on that end of the ball has helped Alabama become a dominant program under his leadership. But Saban realizes that in 2020, the game has changed and defense no longer is the key to success.

Speaking prior to his Crimson Tide’s game against Tennessee last week, Saban said that college football officially has become an offensive game.

“It used to be that good defense beats good offense. Good defense doesn’t beat good offense anymore,” Saban told ESPN on Friday.

“It used to be if you had a good defense, other people weren’t going to score. You were always going to be in the game. I’m telling you. It ain’t that way anymore.”

As a defensive mind, Saban does not like the change. He combats the difference by ensuring Alabama has an “explosive” offense, which he believes they have currently.

Saban believes that part of the problem is the best players grow up playing offense and not as many play defense anymore. He feels Bama’s defense is currently average, but he’s trying to coach them up. It’s a long learning process because the defensive backs have so many passing concepts to learn.

The change Saban identified has been evident in the SEC. A conference that used to have more low-scoring games thanks to strong defenses now regularly has scores that used to be found most commonly in the Big 12. But what’s impressive is that even at age 68, Saban is not too old to adapt. That’s why his program remains one of the strongest in the country and has been since 2008. It also doesn’t hurt that he maintains an extremely high standard from week-to-week.


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