Around the slower-thinking college football world, there was quite a stir when it was learned that – once again – Alabama Coach Nick Saban was out in front of the pack.
There are limits on the number of assistant coaches a major college football team can have (nine at the moment), but the NCAA has never voted on the limits of how many people do the laundry after practice, or tape players before practice, etc.
And so Saban, who spent plenty of time in the NFL environment of having football savvy men provide good information, has been in the practice of taking some outstanding coaches who were between jobs and adding them to the behind-the-scenes Crimson Tide staff.
There was Lane Kiffin, former head coach at Tennessee and Southern Cal, who became Bama’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach and who since has moved on to be head coach at Florida Atlantic University. There was Steve Sarkisian, former head coach at Washington and Southern Cal, who had a one-game career as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Alabama, and then moved on to the Atlanta Falcons in the same capacity. Mike Locksley, former head coach at New Mexico and offensive coordinator at Illinois and Maryland, moved up from analyst to wide receivers coach and co-offensive coordinator for Bama this spring.
There are two high profile new ones as Alabama offensive analysts this spring. They are:
Chris Weinke, who won the Heisman Trophy at Florida State (coincidentally, Alabama’s first opponent of the 2017 season) and played in the NFL and who has coached at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., and as quarterbacks coach with the Los Angeles Rams.
Dan Werner, who was offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Ole Miss the past five years as the Rebels moved from the bottom of the Southeastern Conference in offense to near the top, and who also coached at Miami, Murray State, Louisiana Tech, and Cornell, as well as in high school.
Saban was asked about the two following practice Tuesday.
Saban said, “We’ve always had a lot of respect for Chris Weinke. The guy was a great player. He played a long time in the league. He’s very knowledgeable. He’s very smart. He was a great high school coach at IMG. He went to the NFL and got a couple good years of experience in the NFL. So we thought he’d bring some knowledge and experience and certainty be helpful to us off the field and helping us with game plan.
“Dan Werner and Ole Miss. Do I need to tell our fans or anybody on our staff the issues that we’ve had with their offense that last couple of years? I’ve always had a tremendous amount of respect for what they do, how they coach it. I think it’ll help us on offense and defense to have a guy around here that can add some knowledge and experience to the way they do RPOs (run-pass option plays). Some of the things they did in the passing game. So I’ve always had a lot of respect for Dan.
“We’re glad to have them here to help. I think those two guys, having coached in high school and college, certainly helps a guy that’s coached in the NFL be able to balance some of the things that will help us have a well-rounded, pro-style offense that has the college elements that helps you take advantage of some of the college rules.”
Generally speaking on the subject of analysts, Saban said, “We’ve learned a tremendous amount from all of those guys. I think that’s the No. 1 thing. I think their knowledge and experience and I think they’re very much respected. I think we need different types of people.
“We have guys that do nothing but break down film. We have guys that do nothing but draw plays. And we have guys that make contributions based on their knowledge and experience formulating a game plan. “They’re somebody that other guys on the staff certainly respect, so I think that experience is really, really good. And I think it’s a great learning experience for all of us.”