Building a Juggernaut: Part I - How Saban did it

Submitted by Ron Utah on February 19th, 2013 at 10:56 AM

 

We have moved into recruiting season--a time when Michigan fans can tell their wives, girlfriends, and whomever else that there will be less to read about with football season over. Of course, the way Hoke and Co. recruit, this is perhaps the most exciting time to be checking MgoBlog, as “Hello” posts are more common during this stretch than any other. So instead of watching and re-watching every snap from games, we'll be ogling recruits and commits on youtube, critiquing the professionals' evaluations of high school football players, and arguing over the deeper meaning of a seventeen-year-old's tweets.

 

And on that note, I thought it would be interesting to see just how Michigan is doing in building a perennial B1G—and perhaps national—Championship contender. As the saying goes, “It's not the X's and O's but the Jimmies and Joes.” This is, of course, a reference to the fact that talent trumps scheme. And while I certainly believe a better-coached and prepared team can defeat a more talented sloppy team, the field is always tilted to the side with the better athletes.

 

I have broken this into two parts—both are VERY long. The first (this one) is a look at how the game's unquestionable hegemon built a behemoth program from the ashes of Alabama football. Do NOT mistake this for an endorsement of Saban's methods—as this diary will point out, they are somewhat deplorable. It is, however, a valid reference point for the construction of what we all hope will be our own Juggernaut, and these comparisons will be explored in Part II.

So, on to satan's Saban's story...

 

Alabama's championships have come in 2009, 2011, and 2012. There is no doubt that Saban's first three classes formed the core of his 2011 and 2012 championship squads, but they were also HUGE contributors to his 2009 crystal football. This gives us some hope for our own 2013 campaign, but, more importantly offers context for expectations in 2015, when the Hoke recruits will form the entire team.

 

Chart? Chart!

 

Name Pos Ht Wt 40 Stars Rivals Rtg IMPACT
Kareem Jackson DB 5'10" 185 4.5 4 stars 5.8 3
Marquis Maze ATH 5'9" 160 4.4 3 stars 5.6 3
Rolando McClain LB 6'4" 240 4.6 4 stars 6.0 3
William Vlachos OL 6'2" 287 5.1 3 stars 5.6 3
Josh Chapman DT 6'1" 280 4.9 3 stars 5.7 2
Luther Davis DT 6'4" 254 4.8 4 stars 5.8 2
Nick Gentry DT 6'1" 265 4.8 3 stars 5.7 2
Darius Hanks WR 6'0" 168 4.6 3 stars 5.5 2
Alfred McCullough DT 6'3" 297 4.9 4 stars 5.8 2
Patrick Crump OL 6'3" 285 5 3 stars 5.7 1
Jeremy Elder DE 6'3" 270 4.9 2 stars 5.4 1
Nick Fanuzzi QB 6'3" 200 4.6 3 stars 5.6 1
Tarence Farmer DB 6'1" 190 4.4 3 stars 5.5 1
Brandon Gibson WR 6'2" 190 4.5 4 stars 5.9 1
Demetrius Goode RB 5'11" 200 4.5 4 stars 5.8 1
Jeramie Griffin RB 6'0" 230 4.5 3 stars 5.7 1
Jennings Hester LB 6'3" 228 4.7 2 stars 5.4 1
Chris Lett DB 6'2" 195 4.5 4 stars 5.8 1
Kerry Murphy DT 6'5" 315 5.1 4 stars 6.0 1
Michael Ricks DB 6'2" 195 4.4 4 stars 6.0 1
Jamar Taylor RB 5'9" 204 4.7 3 stars 5.7 1
Chris Underwood TE 6'4" 202   2 stars 5.3 1
Alex Watkins DE 6'5" 225 4.7 4 stars 5.9 1
Chavis Williams DE 6'5" 220 4.6 3 stars 5.5 1
          avg 5.70 1.54

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saban's first class (2007) is his worst, and it's not even close. This is to be expected, since he was hired January 3, 2007. The majority of that class was already in place, and not even Saban's snake oil could yield a single five-star player. The average Rivals rating of that class was 5.70, which is the equivalent of a high three-star recruit.* Compare that with his ridiculous 2013 haul (probably his best class) that has an average rating of 5.87, which is basically a top-150 recruit. Think Joe Mathis. That's their average recruit.

*Rivals ratings were used. For Rivals, a 6.1 is a five-star; 5.8-6.0 is a four-star; 5.5-5.7 is a three-star; 5.0-5.4 is a two-star. Click here for more information.

But alas, 2007 was the recruiting class of a mere mortal, with 24 commits (low for Saban). Ten of those commitments would not finish their career at 'Bama, and five more would flame-out as non-contributors. But even this relatively paltry group produced a few stars: Kareem Jackson, Marquis Maze, Rolando McClain, and William Vlachos all went on to great things with the Tide and now get (legally) paid to play. In fact, four more players from that class have signed with NFL teams, though none of them were stars at 'Bama.

This brings me to the “IMPACT” column on the charts. IMPACT is my very imperfect measurement of a player's on-field contributions to his team. Briefly, a “3” is a solid starter to All-American type; a “2” is a contributor to spot starter; a “1” is bust for whatever reason. As has been pointed out to me, a four-tiered system would be better, giving two “middle” grades and one “all-star” grade. The trouble with that system is that it requires intimate (hmmm...maybe I could have picked a better adjective there) knowledge of a player's performance in order to make an accurate judgment, especially for lineman. For example, Ryan Van Bergen appears to be just a solid starter when you look at his stats, but we know that he was much more important to our team. And it's even harder with the O-line, where there are no real stats. This system results in a low number of “2” players, because the guys that were good enough to be minor contributors and spot starters as sophomores and juniors usually go on to be solid starters by their senior year, the IMPACT rating basically measures their performance in their best year. This is fine for our purposes, as what we are really trying to determine is how many recruits are contributing in a meaningful way to a championship team.

Back to 'Bama. While the '07 class was definitely Saban's weakest, seeing a large percentage of players not finish their careers with the Tide is commonplace. One thing is undeniably clear when you look at the data: a scholarship offer from Nick Saban is actually just an offer to tryout for the Alabama football team. This part of the SEC's infamous “over-signing” practice. Every year, guys that aren't getting it done to Saban's liking are sent packing and their scholarship is offered to a high school kid. If you aren't performing, your spot and your scholarship are going to be handed to someone else.  I really want Michigan to be great, but if we ever pull this kind of crap I will be livid.

 

Name Pos Ht Wt 40 Stars Rivals Rtg IMPACT
Julio Jones WR 6'4" 215 4.5 5 stars 6.1 3
Barrett Jones OL 6'5" 271 4.9 4 stars 6.0 3
Mark Barron ATH 6'2" 202 4.5 4 stars 6.0 3
Courtney Upshaw LB 6'2" 220 4.7 4 stars 5.9 3
Don'ta Hightower LB 6'3" 248 4.7 4 stars 5.8 3
Mark Ingram ATH 5'10" 195 4.4 4 stars 5.8 3
Robert Lester DB 6'2" 205 4.6 4 stars 5.8 3
Marcel Dareus DT 6'4" 277   3 stars 5.7 3
Terrence Cody DT 6'5" 395 5.5 3 stars 5.6 3
Brad Smelley QB 6'3" 220 4.7 3 stars 5.5 3
Jerrell Harris LB 6'3" 220 4.5 4 stars 6.0 2
Michael Williams DE 6'6" 240 4.7 4 stars 5.9 2
John Michael Boswell OL 6'6" 290 5.2 4 stars 5.8 2
Damion Square DT 6'3" 270 4.8 3 stars 5.7 2
Corey Smith K 6'1" 208 4.7 2 stars 5.4 2
Burton Scott ATH 5'11" 194 4.4 5 stars 6.1 1
Tyler Love OL 6'7" 285 5.1 5 stars 6.1 1
Alonzo Lawrence DB 6'1" 187 4.4 4 stars 6.0 1
Kerry Murphy DT 6'5" 325 5.3 4 stars 6.0 1
Melvin Ray WR 6'2" 185 4.5 4 stars 5.9 1
Star Jackson QB 6'3" 182 4.6 4 stars 5.9 1
Brandon Lewis DE 6'3" 260 4.7 4 stars 5.8 1
Chris Jordan ATH 6'2" 201 4.4 4 stars 5.8 1
Destin Hood WR 6'3" 190 4.5 4 stars 5.8 1
Devonta Bolton ATH 6'4" 220 4.5 4 stars 5.8 1
Glenn Harbin DE 6'6" 250 4.8 4 stars 5.8 1
Robby Green DB 6'0" 175 4.5 4 stars 5.8 1
Ivan Matchett RB 5'10" 206 4.5 3 stars 5.7 1
Jermaine Preyear RB 5'11" 205 4.5 3 stars 5.7 1
Undra Billingsley DE 6'4" 260 4.7 3 stars 5.7 1
Chris Jackson WR 6'0" 187 4.5 3 stars 5.6 1
Wesley Neighbors DB 6'1" 190 4.5 2 stars 5.4 1
          avg 5.81 1.78

 

2008 was Saban's first full cycle. Alabama's '07 was campaign was less than impressive: the Tide finished 7-6 including an upset loss to Louisiana-Monroe. An Independence Bowl win over Colorado was the only thing keeping them from a .500 season. Somehow, Saban parlayed that into a stellar recruiting class with 32 (!) recruits. The crown jewel of that class was 5-star Julio Jones, who absolutely lived-up to his billing and has gone on to NFL stardom. The two other 5-star players in that class—Burton (BJ) Scott and Tyler Love—would both fail to produce at 'Bama. Scott was a bust, and Love was injured. But here's a list of the guys from that class that ended-up with an IMPACT rating of “3”:

  • Julio Jones
  • Barrett Jones
  • Mark Barron
  • Courtney Upshaw
  • Don'ta Hightower
  • Mark Ingram
  • Robert Lester
  • Marcel Dareus
  • Terrence Cody
  • Brad Smelley

Brad Smelley was a high school QB who was converted to a bad ass TE. Only two other players from that group—Dareus and Cody—were three-star players. It's interesting to note that this class was a HUGE part of the 2009 championship team, with Julio Jones, Barrett Jones, Mark Barron, Mark Ingram, Marcel Dareus, and Terrence Cody all getting starts and being major contributors to Saban's first crystal football at 'Bama. From the '07 class, only Vlachos, McClain, and Jackson would make comparable contributions to the championship run.

 

Name Pos Ht Wt 40 Stars Rivals Rtg IMPACT
D.J. Fluker OL 6'7" 350 4.9 5 stars 6.1 3
Nico Johnson LB 6'3" 226 4.6 5 stars 6.1 3
Dre Kirkpatrick DB 6'2" 180 4.5 5 stars 6.1 3
Trent Richardson RB 5'11" 210 4.5 5 stars 6.1 3
Eddie Lacy RB 5'11" 210 4.4 4 stars 5.9 3
AJ McCarron QB 6'4" 189 4.8 4 stars 5.9 3
James Carpenter OL 6'5" 305   4 stars 5.8 3
Ed Stinson DE 6'4" 227 4.6 4 stars 5.8 3
Anthony Steen OL 6'4" 297 4.9 3 stars 5.7 3
Chance Warmack OL 6'3" 329 5.5 3 stars 5.7 3
Kevin Norwood WR 6'3" 180 4.5 4 stars 5.9 2
Kenny Bell WR 6'1" 160   4 stars 5.8 2
Quinton Dial DT 6'5" 308 5.1 4 stars 5.8 2
Tana Patrick LB 6'3" 215 4.5 4 stars 6.0 1
Michael Bowman WR 6'4" 206 4.5 4 stars 5.9 1
Kendall Kelly WR 6'4" 210 4.5 4 stars 5.9 1
Darrington Sentimore DT 6'3" 265 4.6 4 stars 5.9 1
Rod Woodson DB 5'11" 200 4.5 4 stars 5.9 1
William Ming DE 6'4" 265 4.8 4 stars 5.8 1
Brandon Moore OL 6'5" 313 5.2 4 stars 5.8 1
Kellen Williams OL 6'3" 295 5.2 3 stars 5.7 1
Jonathan Atchison LB 6'3" 216 4.5 3 stars 5.7 1
Chris Bonds DT 6'4" 262 4.7 3 stars 5.7 1
Anthony Orr DE 6'4" 260 4.8 3 stars 5.7 1
Petey Smith LB 6'0" 230 4.6 3 stars 5.7 1
Darius McKeller OL 6'6" 280 5.1 3 stars 5.6 1
Mike Marrow RB 6'2" 240 4.7 3 stars 5.5 1
          avg 5.83 1.85

 

The 2009 class saw another increase in its average Rivals Rating, this time bumping-up to 5.83. Even more impressive, the four five-star recruits—DJ Fluker, Nico Johnson, Dre Kirkpatrick, and Trent Richardson—all went on to become high-impact players for the Tide. That said, none of the 2009 class would earn starting roles on the 2009 championship team; Richardson was the most significant contributor but was playing back-up to Heisman-winner Mark Ingram. It would take more time for this group to become stars, but this smaller class (27 commitments) still produced 10 players (same number as the 2008 class) who earned a “3” IMPACT rating:

  • DJ Fluker
  • Nico Johnson
  • Dre Kirkpatrick
  • Trent Richardson
  • Eddie Lacy
  • AJ McCarron
  • James Carpenter
  • Ed Stinson
  • Anthony Steen
  • Chance Warmack

Only two of that group were 3-star players: O-linemen Steen and Warmack. All of those guys will almost certainly be drafted—Richardson, Kirkpatrick, and Carpenter are already in the league.

Conclusions

It took Saban three years to build a championship team, but the machine wasn't really in full gear until 2011. The 2010 Tide squad lost three regular season match-ups (South Carolina, LSU, and Auburn) before thumping STAEE in the Capital One Bowl. There is no doubt that his first three classes—especially his second and third—were the foundation of the '11 and '12 championship teams. What is interesting is how much those early classes got to contribute compared to his recent, even better classes. Even with a consistent exodus of talent—many of those drafted players left early—'Bama is fielding fewer freshmen now than it did in 2009. That '08 class really had the best opportunity to start early—since then only a handful of freshmen have seen significant playing time.

Below are the charts for 2010-2013. The IMPACT ratings are obviously incomplete, since most of those guys still have a chance to contribute. What you will notice is that the quality of Saban's classes has improved (though I'm not sure it can get much better than a 5.87 average rating). The Alabama Juggernaut has become and unstoppable force, and it's likely that only scandal or Saban's exit will stop it.

2010

 

Name Pos Ht Wt 40 Stars Rivals Rtg IMPACT
DeMarcus Milliner DB 6'2" 180 4.5 5 stars 6.1 3
Dequan Menzie DB 5'11" 200   4 stars 5.9 3
C.J. Mosley LB 6'2" 212 4.5 4 stars 5.9 3
Deion Belue DB 6'0" 175 4.5 3 stars 5.6 3
John Fulton DB 6'1" 180 4.4 4 stars 5.9 2
Jalston Fowler RB 6'0" 240 4.8 4 stars 5.8 2
Adrian Hubbard DE 6'7" 227   4 stars 5.8 2
Nick Perry DB 6'2" 195 4.5 4 stars 5.8 2
Blake Sims ATH 6'0" 180 4.5 4 stars 5.8 2
Brandon Ivory DT 6'3" 330   3 stars 5.6 2
Cade Foster K 6'1" 215   3 stars 5.5 2
Alfy Hill DE 6'4" 222 4.6 4 stars 5.9 1
Arie Kouandjio OL 6'6" 314 5.2 4 stars 5.9 1
Phillip Sims QB 6'2" 209 4.8 4 stars 5.9 1
DeAndrew White WR 6'0" 170 4.4 4 stars 5.9 1
Jarrick Williams DB 6'2" 205 4.6 4 stars 5.9 1
Corey Grant RB 5'10" 186 4.4 4 stars 5.8 1
Keiwone Malone WR 6'1" 165 4.4 4 stars 5.8 1
Brian Vogler TE 6'7" 248 4.7 4 stars 5.8 1
Ronald Carswell WR 6'0" 180 4.5 3 stars 5.7 1
Harrison Jones TE 6'4" 230 4.8 3 stars 5.7 1
Brandon Lewis DT 6'3" 275   3 stars 5.7 1
Chad Lindsay OL 6'3" 307 5.4 3 stars 5.7 1
Austin Shepherd OL 6'5" 316 5.5 3 stars 5.7 1
Wilson Love DE 6'4" 235 4.8 3 stars 5.6 1
Jay Williams K 6'4" 220   2 stars 5.3 1
          avg 5.77  

2011

 

Name Pos Ht Wt 40 Stars Rivals Rtg IMPACT
Hasean Clinton-Dix DB 6'2" 190   5 stars 6.1 3
Cyrus Kouandjio OL 6'7" 322 5 5 stars 6.1 3
Quinton Dial DE 6'6" 315   4 stars 5.8 3
Vinnie Sunseri LB 5'11" 193 4.6 3 stars 5.6 3
Jeoffrey Pagan DE 6'4" 272 4.6 4 stars 6 2
Jesse Williams DT 6'4" 330   4 stars 6 2
Xzavier Dickson DE 6'3" 238 4.8 4 stars 5.9 2
Trey DePriest LB 6'2" 231 4.6 4 stars 5.8 2
Chris Jones DB 6'0" 185 4.5 4 stars 5.8 2
D.J. Pettway DE 6'3" 255   4 stars 5.8 2
Demetrius Hart RB 5'8" 190 4.4 5 stars 6.1 1
Brent Calloway LB 6'1" 210 4.6 4 stars 6 1
Marvin Shinn WR 6'3" 177 4.5 4 stars 5.9 1
Aaron Douglas OL 6'6" 280   4 stars 5.8 1
Malcolm Faciane TE 6'6" 265   4 stars 5.8 1
LaMichael Fanning DT 6'6" 285   4 stars 5.8 1
Bradley Sylve WR 5'11" 175 4.4 4 stars 5.8 1
Danny Woodson WR 6'2" 200 4.5 4 stars 5.8 1
Phillip Ely QB 6'1" 186 4.6 3 stars 5.7 1
Ryan Kelly OL 6'5" 270 5 3 stars 5.7 1
Isaac Luatua OL 6'2" 299 5 3 stars 5.7 1
Jabriel Washington ATH 5'11" 165   3 stars 5.7 1
Duron Carter WR 6'2" 195   3 stars 5.6 1
          avg 5.84  

2012

 

Name Pos Ht Wt 40 Stars Rivals Rtg IMPACT
T.J. Yeldon RB 6'2" 205 4.4 5 stars 6.1 3
Amari Cooper WR 6'1" 175   4 stars 6 3
Kenyan Drake RB 6'1" 195 4.4 4 stars 5.8 2
Deion Belue DB 6'0" 170   3 stars 5.6 2
Landon Collins DB 6'0" 199 4.4 5 stars 6.1 1
Eddie Williams ATH 6'4" 204   5 stars 6.1 1
Chris Black WR 5'11" 170   4 stars 6 1
Travell Dixon DB 6'2" 200 4.5 4 stars 6 1
Reggie Ragland LB 6'4" 245   4 stars 6 1
Ryan Anderson LB 6'3" 250   4 stars 5.9 1
Cyrus Jones ATH 5'11" 183 4.5 4 stars 5.9 1
Dillon Lee LB 6'4" 220   4 stars 5.9 1
Geno Smith DB 5'11" 180 4.5 4 stars 5.9 1
Denzel Devall LB 6'2" 236 4.6 4 stars 5.8 1
Brandon Greene OL 6'6" 280   4 stars 5.8 1
Tyler Hayes LB 6'3" 215   4 stars 5.8 1
Korren Kirven DT 6'4" 272 5.2 4 stars 5.8 1
Dalvin Tomlinson DT 6'2" 270 4.9 4 stars 5.8 1
Dakota Ball DT 6'2" 292 5.2 3 stars 5.7 1
Kurt Freitag TE 6'3" 245   3 stars 5.7 1
Brandon Hill OL 6'6" 352   3 stars 5.7 1
Alphonse Taylor DT 6'6" 340   3 stars 5.7 1
Caleb Gulledge OL 6'4" 255   3 stars 5.6 1
Darren Lake DT 6'3" 330   3 stars 5.6 1
Alec Morris QB 6'3" 235   3 stars 5.6 1
Adam Griffith K 5'11" 175   3 stars 5.5 1
          avg 5.82  

2013

 

Name Pos Ht Wt 40 Stars Rivals Rtg
Jonathan Allen DE 6'3" 263 4.5 5 stars 6.1
Reuben Foster LB 6'1" 244   5 stars 6.1
O.J. Howard TE 6'6" 235 4.5 5 stars 6.1
A'Shawn Robinson DT 6'4" 320 5.1 5 stars 6.1
Robert Foster WR 6'3" 187   4 stars 6.0
Derrick Henry RB 6'3" 243 4.5 4 stars 6.0
Grant Hill OL 6'6" 301   4 stars 6.0
Tyren Jones RB 5'9" 215   4 stars 6.0
Alvin Kamara RB 5'10" 197 4.5 4 stars 6.0
Dee Liner DE 6'3" 281   4 stars 6.0
ArDarius Stewart ATH 6'1" 190   4 stars 6.0
Altee Tenpenny RB 6'0" 212 4.5 4 stars 6.0
Maurice Smith DB 6'0" 180 4.5 4 stars 5.9
Tim Williams DE 6'3" 235   4 stars 5.9
Cooper Bateman QB 6'3" 215 4.8 4 stars 5.8
Raheem Falkins WR 6'4" 195 4.5 4 stars 5.8
Darius Paige DT 6'4" 314   4 stars 5.8
Jonathan Cook DB 6'0" 185 4.5 3 stars 5.7
Brandon Hill OL 6'7" 390   3 stars 5.7
Eddie Jackson WR 6'0" 175   3 stars 5.7
Walker Jones LB 6'2" 234 4.6 3 stars 5.7
Leon Brown OL 6'6" 300   3 stars 5.6
Cole Mazza OL 6'1" 240   3 stars 5.6
Parker McLeod QB 6'3" 190   3 stars 5.6
Anthony Averett ATH 6'0" 170 4.4 3 stars 5.5
          avg 5.87

 

Comments

bluenyc

February 19th, 2013 at 11:17 AM ^

Wow, the numbers are interesting.  He has had close to 25 a year the last 4 years.  That is alot of attrition.  I can understand his first couple of years with a new program.  I wonder if we will have the same amount after Hoke's 3rd year.

Finance-PhD

March 12th, 2013 at 6:40 PM ^

A fair number of those players got a scholarship their first year and then turned it down the following year and paid tuition. That is more often for the guy from in state and from wealthier backgrounds. The thought is that it is better for the team to get another running back (who is likely to not use 4 years anyway) and those players are not likely to go to the NFL or to get drafted at the very least. Having been a member of the NC team is worth far more than the tuition economicly. I know a couple personally and they said that they were not under any pressure to volunteer to give it up. I know them so I do not think they are lying in that regard.

It reminds me of the old boot camp drill of jumping onto the dummy granade to show you will sacrafice to help out your platoon.

Also remember that the SEC brings in a good number of JuCo players who also do not use a scholarship for that long. In the list provided there were a couple that signed, did not qualify, went JuCo and then came back to play. The missing years do not count against the 85.

 

3rdGenerationBlue

February 19th, 2013 at 12:20 PM ^

^ Seth - plenty more detailed analysis for you to provide regarding the mix of players within Saban's recruiting classes. I'd be interested in learning how he populated these recruiting classes relative to the existing player roster. Was Saban's recruiting focus based on filling immediate needs or more of a long term strategy to create a team that could play a certain style?

YoOoBoMoLloRoHo

February 19th, 2013 at 12:28 PM ^

Hoke & staff have recruited well but not quite to Bama's level. Still, the comparison is very interesting with his January hiring and depleted roster.

This season will tell us more about the program than the last few years simply because the roster is mostly Hoke's recruits and the staff has 2+ years with the upperclassmen.

It's critical for Hoke to win big this year just like Saban in yr 3 because recruiting mojo will largely swing based on our success. We won't have a bunch of draft successes and Urban is already selling "OSU is a NC contender while UM is just playing catch-up."

Saban eroded the Urban myth by physically beating UF and out recruiting them. URban realized the next 5+ years were an uphill battle.

maize-blue

February 19th, 2013 at 1:49 PM ^

I completly agree. I think if we don't win 9-10 games this year AND beat Ohio they are going to grab all the recruiting momentum. I'd almost go so far to say that if Hoke starts out 0-2 to Meyer it will be very hard for us to catch up. I really hate saying that but all it comes down to is posting W's. The bad thing is I feel that 2014 & 2015 are the years when Hoke's vision should emerge. If we beat Ohio in 2013 things will be looking bright.

Ron Utah

February 25th, 2013 at 2:39 PM ^

While we compete in some head-to-head battles, recruits often have us in their top 5 and Ohio nowhere, and vice versa.  A loss to Urban this year certainly does not spell doom for our recruiting.  I seriously doubt it has much impact at all, especially if we only lose two or three games total.

Ron Utah

February 19th, 2013 at 1:02 PM ^

I will have the Michigan comparisons either later this week or early next week.  While Hoke hasn't recruited to Saban's level, the numbers are pretty strong, and there are some favorable comparisons.

I'm not betting much on year three for Hoke; but I think we'll have one of the top 10 rosters in the country starting in 2015.

DamnYankee

February 19th, 2013 at 1:43 PM ^

that Saban started the whole  ESSS  EEE  SEEE revival when he first got to LSU.  If you look at old interviews when he first got there, he came out and said the first thing he knew he needed to do was "re-vamp the recruiting strategy" and overhaul the roster.  His dubious roster management techniques were duplicated at other SEC West schools and it literally has been an "arms race" ever since. 

Wolverine 73

February 19th, 2013 at 4:52 PM ^

I find it quite interesting that in the last three classes, Saban has one 4 star QB and three 3 stars.  Not a single major star QB recruit in those three great classes.  Says a lot about what he values most in building a team.

MaizeNBlueTexan

February 19th, 2013 at 9:53 PM ^

I've said this about Alabama every year for the past couple years. They have very good linemen on both sides of the ball, excellent running backs, and a solid defense. 

All they really need for the QB position is a competent QB that doesn't make many mistakes and can get the ball out of his hands in 4-5 seconds (a long time I know). A high 3 star or a 4 star guy will thrive and look very very good playing at Alabama. 

 

Wolfman

February 20th, 2013 at 10:15 AM ^

sides of ball;however, and the same can be said of Carroll, it's the D. After losing to Louisiana last season ,while getting ready for the rematch, he spent not one moment with the offense, deferring instead to the coaches he selected for that side of the ball. All his time was spent working with the D and scheming on what he knew Miles was going to bring to the field. Obviously, it worked.

I also recall perhaps the best OLman we've had in the past 15 years, Jake Long, saying about Bama, ¨¨They brought things at us that we had never ever seen, let alone thought about.¨ In other words, there defense was far advanced in comparison to our offense and when one team has that much of an advantage of either side of the ball, it usually will prevail.

It's actually not unlike our '07 bowl win over Fl. Urban, of course, knew what we'd be bringing, however, we decided not to bring that. They didn't know what hit them, and if we had stayed, perhaps, in our normal offensive strategy, which was so predictable at that point, result may have been far different, and not necessarily in our favor.

WolverineFanatic6

February 21st, 2013 at 1:34 AM ^

Bama is bama bc of the quality and size of the players they have in the trenches on both sides of the ball, running-backs that are bowling balls, and sticking to their game plan of complete and utter dismantling of the other team through battering you with the run and then stretching the field with excellent play action. The stifling defense is something I think we will possess soon, and we are certainly on our way in the trenches on offense. Next year and definitely in 2014 we are going to be niceeee. Plz redshirt gods grant DG his medical so we can win titles k thx bye

BrownJuggernaut

February 22nd, 2013 at 9:37 AM ^

Saban did not build me!

Great work, Ron U. Year 3 will be interesting because there'll be more pressure to win, but it'll become harder to keep the coaching staff together. I think the two things that drive success is stability and the ability to draw talent. Where there hasn't been stability at Alabama, they've been able to add some terrific talent.