Football Visitors Can Mutually Benefit

Many consider Peyton Manning to be the best quarterback in professional football, so one had to wonder if he was coming into Alabama's spring practice to help the Crimson Tide quarterbacks. Maybe he did, but he was just part of a string of football people who came into Bama's camp this spring. And Nick Saban said Manning – his success notwithstanding – was also in Tuscaloosa to improve himself.

Alabama completed the 14th of 15 spring practice days Thursday. Afterwards, Saban talked about the having visiting coaches come through, and about Peyton Manning being part of the football braintrust making a stop for Crimson Tide work.

Saban said that Alabama both welcomes visiting coaches who want to come and also invites visitors who might be able to help the Tide. Particularly this year, Saban said he was looking for people who know something about defending no-huddle offenses.

Manning may fall into that category. He plays for the Denver Broncos, who use a no-huddle. Manning didn't come alone. He was with Broncos Offensive Coordinator Adam Gase, who had worked for Saban at Michigan State and LSU. Saban said he is also a longtime friend of Peyton's father, Archie Manning.

Saban said Manning and Gase "were just making some visits. To be honest with you, he was just trying to learn so he could be a better player, which I think a lot of people would say, 'Wow, the guy is one of the best, if not the best, and certainly from a career standpoint probably about as good as anybody's been in the history of the league. After all the experience and knowledge that he has, he's going out and trying to seek more knowledge and understanding of the game of football so he can play better.'

"It's a great example for a lot of young people, whether they're playing high school, college, Pop Warner or whatever, and it's something that I have tremendous respect for. I really enjoyed visiting with him."

And there was a little more to the story. "Since they're a no-huddle team, we had a lot of questions for them, in terms of what gives them problems and what defensive teams do that gives them problems," Saban said. "That was kind of a mutual, hopefully beneficial _ i know it was a benefit to us. I hope it was a benefit to them as well."

That mutual benefit is part of the process of having visiting coaches, Saban said.

"I guess the best way to answer the question is ‘who's doing who a favor?'," Saban said. "Sometimes we have people that we ask to come in because we want to learn from them. The goals that you have for next year are basically the things that you struggled with last year. You make a list of those things through your quality control, and then you go out and look for people who might be able to help you develop a little more expertise, a better way to teach, a better way to coach some situation. Sometimes we bring somebody in here to visit with us.

"Sometimes we have people call us and ask us if they can come and visit us and try to learn from us, wihch we share with quite a few people.

"I think we usually learn from them as well when that happens."

Alabama winds up spring practice Saturday with the A-Day Game at Bryant-Denny Stadium beginning at 1 p.m. CDT. There is no admission charge.

BamaMag Top Stories