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#pounditThursday, May 13, 2021

Ricky Williams offers surprising comment on Nick Saban as NFL coach

Nick Saban

Nick Saban is arguably the greatest college football coach ever. If someone wants to criticize him — and you know there are people who love to — you really have to go back to his time in the NFL to find some ammo.

Saban coached the Miami Dolphins in 2005 and 2006. His team went 9-7 in 2005 and then 6-10 in 2006, which is the only losing record he has ever had as a head coach.

Critics say Saban failed in the NFL and that his style didn’t work in the pros. But one person feels differently.

Former Heisman Trophy winner Ricky Williams, who played for Saban’s 2005 Dolphins, says he loved playing for the coach.

Williams was a guest on Shannon Sharpe’s “Club Shay Shay” show and was asked what Saban was like.

“I played with him one year before I got suspended, and I loved playing for Coach Saban,” Williams said. “I loved it because you knew what the standard was. If you met the standard, you were good. If you didn’t, he was going to be on you.”

Williams then said Saban had a gimmick called the “Tiger Board” that some thought was college crap, but Williams liked it.

“He had this thing called the ‘Tiger Board.’ At first, we thought, ‘what is this college bulls–t?’ It was a board right when you walked into the team meeting room. Basically it (represented): did you play hard? So it became this thing when you walked in on Monday, and you just wanted to make sure that you were on the Tiger Board,” Williams said.

“My experience with Nick Saban is I love him and I would play for him any day. Because he set the standard and he was all about show up, get better, make plays.”

Williams rushed for 743 yards and six touchdowns in 2005 under Saban. The team finished the season on a six-game winning streak and had a winning record. Saban and the Dolphins definitely weren’t a bust that season.

In 2005, Williams had just returned from missing the previous season due to a retirement. He ended up missing the following season due to a league suspension. But his memories of Saban as an NFL coach were positive.

I have often felt that those who jeer Saban over his time with the Dolphins were wrong. The 2005 season was evidence to me that Saban would have figured out a way to win in Miami. He just realized that he could dominate more in college. And Alabama gave him an offer he couldn’t refuse.

It doesn’t happen very often anymore, but there was a time when all the stories about Saban and the Dolphins painted the coach in an overwhelmingly negative light.

In case you were wondering, the positive feelings between Williams and Saban are mutual. Several years ago, Saban even offered Williams a job on his Alabama coaching staff.

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