Saban known to handcuffs offensive coordinators

Submitted by TheTruth41 on October 8th, 2014 at 9:47 AM

Interesting article quoting AJ McCarron as saying Saban handcuffs his offensive coordinators.  While he wasn't sure if this was the case in Alabama's last loss, while he was there Saban was known to do this (when Nussmeier was the OC).  May explain a bit more why the parting was more mutual than anything.

Not too far fetched to believe the same is happening under Hoke.


Fuzzy Dunlop

October 8th, 2014 at 9:50 AM ^

Not too far fetched to believe the same is happening under Hoke.


Because Saban handcuffs his coordinators, Hoke must also be handcuffing his coordinators?

Because Hoke and Saban have SO much in common.  Two sides of the same coin, those two.  Why, just the other day I was talking about a football coach who was a total control freak perfectionist and needed to manage every single detail that took place on the football field, and everyone was like "wait, we don't know if you're talking about Nick Saban or Brady Hoke!"


October 8th, 2014 at 12:47 PM ^

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Bodymore, Murderland


October 8th, 2014 at 9:53 AM ^

I doubt Hoke does nearly as much as Saban, but I'm sure his vision for what the offense should be has over-ruled what the OC necessarily wanted to do at various points along the way.


Of course that's all total speculation at this point.


October 8th, 2014 at 10:00 AM ^

it makes no logical sense - they don't even interact on the sidelines

i don't want to turn this into a headset argument, but THE MAN DOESN'T WEAR A HEADSET - he has no interaction with the OC

you may want to believe that he crafts the gameplan, but if he did why wouldn't he at least follow along with it or stand next to the OC and talk about it?


October 8th, 2014 at 10:08 AM ^

I get it - but the Offense doesn't run that much I-form old school manball

we have tons of spread elements in our games

Do you think Hoke came up with tackle over?

or the Triangle thing with Devin and Denard?


Honestly - I don't even think Hoke hired 'Nuss.  I think DB hired him, if anyone is handicapping our OC its the AD (and when I write this I understand it makes me look like a tinfoil hat wearing weirdo)


October 8th, 2014 at 10:54 AM ^

"I want to see a huddle. I want our QB to get a play call from you and run it. I want our personnel split to favor seniors and tight ends. I want to give Morris a shot. "

Where was it this past weekend that saw M go no huddle and look to the sideline for an audible? That was the first time I remember under Hoke - Has Nuss wanted the quick-line-up-sideline-glance to happen all along? Hoke said no until it was a HUGE tire fire?


October 8th, 2014 at 10:14 AM ^

I'm not sure Hoke handcuffs anyone. I think the coordinators pretty much run the team. Based on what we witness and the non-interaction of Hoke and the other coaches we can't even say that he knows the plays.

I'm pretty much convinced the CEO style head coach doesn't work. I see very little to no coaching from Hoke during the games.

The saying is that a team takes on the personality of the head coach. If this saying is somewhat true than we can conclude that Hoke is not organized, doesn't know how to adjust, isn't a great motivator, and is too soft.


October 8th, 2014 at 10:16 AM ^

Saw Hoke talking to Nuss quite frequently Saturday night. If u watch the game they are often standing right next to each other... I doubt hoke restricts him much. By the same token I think Nuss is still getting comfortable with what Devin does well. Saw more rollouts than any other game last Saturday.

turd ferguson

October 8th, 2014 at 10:34 AM ^

Okay, but it's possible that the problems you describe in your last paragraph are why this particular CEO structure isn't working.  I could see a CEO head coach model (i.e., a head coach who delegates heavily to his coordinators) working well if that head coach were very good at motivating players, managing game situations, organizing successful practices, working the officials, etc.  It's possible that Hoke just isn't a good CEO even if the broader CEO structure he's using is a potentially good one.


October 8th, 2014 at 10:53 AM ^

I guess I could concede that a CEO style could be successful. But like you mention, this style coach would have to be very strong in pretty much all other areas other than the X's and O's. I was a Hoke supporter for a long time. I'm now not confident at all that he has what it takes to win at the highest levels of D-1. He's a nice guy, good at selling the program and tradition, which translates in to great recruiting and building a good base for a program. But he seems to be failing at going any further than that. His abilities, personality, style were good enough for the MAC and Mountain West but he seems vunerable in the big, shark infested waters of big time college football.


October 8th, 2014 at 11:45 AM ^

I've thought about this for a while with regrds to the football program, and it seems to me that Hoke probably is an excellent motivator and does well with engagement, otherwise the team wouldn't be reacting to the outside criticism like they have, I think. Where it seems to fall apart is the other areas that hold teams together - the preparation, the organization, the ability to develop alternatives, etc... - the things that make successful companies work as well as successful programs, I believe. You can be a "rah-rah" person all you want, but that alone doesn't make the place function. 


October 8th, 2014 at 10:11 AM ^

I've stated this a few times on this board.

I remember AJ saying that they would always run up-tempo in practice, but rarely use it during a game.


It seems odd that I really haven't seen the offense he ran at Washington with Locker and Price. Locker was one of the best passers while on the run. We rarely see devin get rolled out, which I would think is what he would like behind a not so great o-line and being a dual-threat.


October 8th, 2014 at 10:13 AM ^

It sounds crazy, but I'm getting close to thinking that BRANDON handcuffs coaches here.  Both Borges and Nuss had a history of diverse offenses before they accepted jobs at MANBALL U. 


October 8th, 2014 at 10:16 AM ^

I have been desparately been trying to cling to this theory, but I'm having trouble getting much meat to stick to that bone.  Its one reason why I think DB should lose his job before Hoke and that given the right situation in the department, Hoke can be successful...mainly because BH is so likeable and DB is such an ass. 


October 8th, 2014 at 10:35 AM ^

I don't think his likeability is a direct correlation to his coaching ability.  I do think that given a different situation within the department he could be more successful.  But I also agree that he is in over his head right now.  I reference his likeability as a desire, on my part, for him to be successful, and on the other side...DB's unlikeability I don't care if he's successful or not (beyond his tenure at Michigan).

turd ferguson

October 8th, 2014 at 10:43 AM ^

In college sports, likeability can help someone be a good coach.  It's central to recruiting, which is an important part of college coaching, and recruiting is one area in which Hoke seems very strong.

I agree to some extent with each of you.  My sense is that Hoke is in over his head here (as most coaches would be, given that it's such a tough job).  At the same time, I wish we had seen him without DB over the past few years just in case DB has been a major part of the on-the-field problem.  I'm hoping for a coaching change this offseason - assuming no miraculous turnaround over the next several weeks - but I'll be cheering enthusiastically for Hoke wherever he ends up.


October 8th, 2014 at 10:15 AM ^

Nuss has this offense going in the right direction IMO. We have had bad qb play all season, but the offensive line is not nearly as..offensive as it was last year. The rb's seem to be getting better as well. It's too bad he will get swept out with the rest of this coaching staff in December. Hopefully the o-line will benefit from taking positive steps next year.


October 8th, 2014 at 10:34 AM ^

A "handcuffed" offense was like Michigan in the late '90s, when there was an abundance of talent but the coaches were so paranoid about turning the ball over that they rarely threw on first down or into the middle of the field. That made Michigan's offense a lot more predictable and correspondingly easier to defend against. But if M got behind, they would "take the handcuffs off" and could blow people out of the water. For a perfect example, watch the 2000 Orange Bowl against Alabama. When the game was tied, Michigan played conservatively and didn't accomplish much. When they fell behind by two TDs, they started airing it out and quickly caught back up. Then they returned to their conservative offense, and fell behind by two TDs again, so then they opened up the playbook again and caught back up a second time.

I don't see this year's Michigan offense as "handcuffed." They don't have a second volume of the playbook that they keep on a shelf and only resort to in emergencies. About the only thing they could do, but don't do, is run DG more--and to me, that seems like a function of wanting to keep him healthy because Morris gives them very little chance of winning (at least, I presumed that was the reason until the Minnesota game, now I'd have to concede that point is questionable).