Nick Saban on Dolphins’ experience: I found out maybe I was more suited for college

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The Alabama media guide ignores two seasons of Nick Saban’s year-by-year coaching career. In his two seasons with the Dolphins, Saban went 9-7 in 2005 and 6-10 in 2006.

On Saturday night, he returns to the stadium where he briefly had a stint as an NFL coach.

“I learned from my experience coming here. I learned something about myself,” Saban said, via Steven Wine of the Associated Press. “At the time, it was a tough consequence to have to deal with. I couldn’t have been in a better situation with better people here in Miami. But I found out maybe I was a little more suited to be a college coach. That was a tough realization because of the obligations I had to the people I worked for, and the players.”

Things have worked out more than OK for Saban as his Crimson Tide play Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl for a berth in the College Football Playoff final. Alabama is trying to win its sixth title in 10 seasons.

“I enjoyed coaching in the NFL,” Saban said. “I love college coaching.”

Things have not worked out so well for the Dolphins after Saban decided Drew Brees‘ surgically repaired shoulder was too much risk in the 2006 offseason. The Dolphins signed Daunte Culpepper instead of Brees, who went to New Orleans.

Brees, who has a Super Bowl ring, became the NFL’s all-time leading passer this season. The Dolphins are 90-117 with two playoff appearances and no playoff wins since declining to sign Brees. They are on their seventh coach since then, including interim coaches, and current coach Adam Gase is on the hot seat.

“It takes time to build a program,” Saban said, advocating for the Dolphins to keep Gase. “Sometimes when you make changes, you take two steps back to go one step forward.”

41 responses to “Nick Saban on Dolphins’ experience: I found out maybe I was more suited for college

  1. Must be hard when you can’t rely on getting the best players available all the time, eh Nick?

  2. In college you don’t have to depend on others. If you can sell yourself to kids and their parents, you can recruit the best players. Once you start winning, it gets easier to recruit the best players, so it’s easier to stay on top. In the NFL you need good personnel people to get to the top. When you win it gets harder because you pick last in every round. It’s almost like night and day. Also, in college you get to work with alumni who are crazy about winning. In the pros you have to work for owners. Nowadays many of the owners inherited their teams so they know very little about football. They often don’t share the same passion that their parents or grandparents (the original owners) had. They have the best educations money can buy but often they’re not too bright. These kids are your boss. Gee, I wonder why Nick Saban wants to stay at Alabama.

  3. It helps when you can have your boosters buy all the best players. You can’t do that in the NFL because of the salary cap. There is no salary cap at Alabama though so he can just buy whatever player he wants.

  4. So now may we put to rest the annual columns(not here) about Saban returning to the NFL after another great season at Alabama? By now it’s evident he wants to end his coaching career at the college level. Those end of year possibility columns about returning to the NFL are just pure speculation and lazy.

  5. He’s a great college coach, I’m just sorry he wasn’t as successful with the Dolphins. ☹

    I do appreciate his honesty, he didn’t want to coach in the NFL and as it turned out it was the right move as he’s going down as the greatest coach in college history.

  6. You have to out coach in the NFL, in college lot easier when you have the best athletes on the field.

  7. I normally poop on Nick but passing on Brees was only a bad decision in hindsight. In the moment there was real doubt on whether he’d ever be who he was in San Diego again. Anyone passing on him is understandable given the situation. Sure you’d undo that choice, but choices made that are reasonable in the moment are never wrong.

  8. I think the doctors made the best decision with knee over shoulder, they are not always right, what Nick claim was he wanted Brees, and the higher management force Culpepper on him, who knows what is truth. Bill

  9. Brees and Culpepper were a wash at that point in their careers. Pretty sure that a lot of teams cringed at signing a QB with a throwing arm injury, NO less so because they were 3-13 and had nothing to lose. In the end it worked out for the Saints and Saban. Even if he had signed Brees, it’s apparent Saban would’ve walked anyways and the personnel spiral there would’ve continued.

  10. Average joe says:
    December 28, 2018 at 8:00 pm
    Nick saban is the best “recruiter” of all time ..he’s not the best coach. Ppl need to realise this

    So? Why do you think every year at the end of the college football regular season that programs hire coaches from other college teams when those teams are going to a bowl game?

    Because the recruiting college doesn’t want to lose a second of time for the new guy to recruit players. It’s probably more important than “coaching”. You snooze you loose.

  11. He controls everything at Alabama and the NCAA doesn’t interfere with his little fiefdom near as much as the league might or the player’s union would. The only draw to go pro for a coach who’s got it made at the college level is the competition and wanting to be the best.

  12. Saban is a hell of a recruiter, but the reason he doesn’t want to coach in the NFL is because it is a level playing field. He probably averages 11 wins per season, but I’d estimate with the same team and talent my Yorkie Rocky could coach the team to around a 9 win season. If I had a monkey as a pet I’d say my estimate for wins would be 10. So Saban as a coach is good for around one win per year than a monkey. College football is a joke and they hope the consumer never figures it out.

  13. ND has a winning record over Alabama all time. This will continue when we destroy Clemson today. ND 32 Alabama 19

  14. You can have all the talent in the world, but at the end of the day. You still have to make them have discipline and go out and play. Saban does.

  15. I have been a season ticket holder with the Dolphins for 30 years. The two years Saban was the coach were my least enjoyable. He made the entire team about him. He didn’t allow players or coaches to speak to the Media and every time he spoke to the media he was arrogant, disrespectful, belligerent and gave the fans and media no information about the team. In essence we as fans, were cut out of the loop. . I had never experienced such a disconnect with my team. The day he left was one if my happiest as a Dolphins fan.

  16. Saban discovered he was more successful at the College level where he had better players than his opponents. He also picked RB Ronnie Brown over QB Aaron Rodgers in the 2005 NFL draft.

  17. Saban was on a straight line to getting an ass whipping from unionized players due to his behavior and treatment toward them…the NFL separates the professional coaches from the amateur coaches, ie college…case closed

  18. Pretty simple, really. In college, the coaches run the show. In the NFL, the players do. Every personnel decision in the NFL has ramifications due to salary cap, roster size, etc. In college, you don’t like or want a guy you just run him off and plug in another player from the pile.

  19. Alabama alumnus are insane about winning.
    They have a tyrant at the helm, in Saban. A recruiter and disciplinarian.
    Alabama makes boatloads of money winning and recruiting the best black athletes, year after year.
    The ‘simple’ admission standards at Alabama?
    Well, we all know about that.

  20. If all it took was talent and rolling the ball out there, then Urban Meyer would still be Coaching Ohio State. If all it took was paying players, then Texas would be winning National Championships near annually.If all it took was a University Administration that looked the other way and let the Football Program run wild, then Baylor would be in the CFP every year. Layne Kiffen said it best,“The only cheating they do is he works harder than everybody else.”

  21. Since Nick Saban left the Dolphins after the 2006 season, this is the very impressive list of head coaches we have had….

    1. Cam Cameroon (1-15 in 2007, Dolphins ring of honor candidate)
    2. Tony Sparano
    3. Todd Bowles
    4. Joe Philbin
    5. Dan Campbell
    6. Adam Gase

    Yes, Nick is the only true leader out of this group, like him or hate him you have to respect what he’s accomplished even though my fellow Dolphins are still pouting because he was arrogant at times with the media unlike Gase right?lol

  22. Much easier to win lots of games when you always play against teams with losing records or have rosters full of losers. There is more talent in the NFL in a concentrated form.

  23. To truthfuldolphinsfan: well your hero and “true leader” Saban accomplished nothing in Miamii. No more than any of the coaches since him. At least Gase made the playoffs one year. And Saban showed he is in fact not a “leader”of grown men but merely a bully of college boys. And take a peek at his 2006 draft. Without question the worst draft in Dolphins history. He was a total disaster.

  24. I chuckle at the “knowledgeable” fans on this site. JImmy Johnson wouldn’t have made it the NFL that Saban coached in. JJ won 8 games in 2 years. Given time, who knows how Nick would have compared.

    Saban is GOAT. Yep, his style doesn’t translate to pro ball. The NFL is made of mostly immature, spoiled wealthy athletes. When players are able to get out of conditioning by bringing a copy of their contract to practice, no chance of winning. I think it’s hilarious when haters say he only wins because he is the best recruiter. Not true. I think OSU, UGA, and Clemson do a pretty good job of recruiting as well. Recruiting + coaching = Naty’s.

    Belichick is GOAT NFL coach. His style doesn’t translate to college.

    I for one prefer NCAA over NFL..

  25. Saban a good recruiter? Bear Bryant and the legacy he built is the best recruiter that Bama ever had and it’ll keep attracting talent long after Saban is gone!

    BTW That’s why Saban had/has such great teams, he should get on his knees every night and thank Bear!

  26. To truthfuldolphinsfan: well your hero and “true leader” Saban accomplished nothing in Miamii. No more than any of the coaches since him. At least Gase made the playoffs one year. And Saban showed he is in fact not a “leader”of grown men but merely a bully of college boys. And take a peek at his 2006 draft. Without question the worst draft in Dolphins history. He was a total disaster.

    Head coaches don’t draft players in the NFL bud, GM’s do. Saban probably had input, but the decisions were not made by him.

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