Nick Saban’s methods and process has been well documented during his days at Alabama but the early days of his coaching career and equally as enticing to see what changed and carried over throughout his career.
In Saban’s case, there appears to be a lot in the carried-over department which was confirmed by his former LSU quarterback JaMarcus Russell during an appearance on The Pivot Podcast. During his interview, the former Tigers quarterback and top NFL draft pick shared what it was like to be Saban’s signal caller.
“Nick was very militant,” Russell said. “He’s strategic, he’s gonna get on your ass I can say that because he knows what you can do. He knows that you can do it so when you don’t show up that’s when it turns out bad bro.”
Russell was recruited by Saban in the class of 2003 where he would redshirt his freshman season and take the field for the first time as a redshirt sophomore in 2004. That season would be the only year Russell would see playing time with Saban as his head coach as he primarily served as the team’s backup behind Marcus Randall. Through 11 games in 2004, Russell recorded 1,053 passing yards, nine touchdowns and four interceptions.
He would go on to be one of the top quarterbacks in college football and later be selected with the first overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft by the Oakland Raiders. Saban would move on to become the head coach of the Miami Dolphins where he would famously depart the franchise in favor of Alabama after two seasons.
Since his reign of dominance over college football began, the famous debate has revolved around if Saban would be able to go back to the NFL and have success. Russell offered his own thoughts on Saban in the NFL, stating that his former head coach would prefer to have his control at the college level.
“If he can control the situation then he’ll win if he can’t there ain’t no need to deal with it. It’s out of my control” Russell said. “Why would I want to deal with something that I can’t control if that’s the type of person I am? If I know everything it takes to win during the summer workout, even the 26 110 (yard springs), or the 180s in the spring, if I can get it down to a science on how to do this then if I can’t control this why would I do it?”
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