Nick Saban Knows Recruiting

We Alabama fans are known to concern ourselves with every little nuance when it comes to Crimson Tide football. Therefore, one of the topics of discussion following Nick Saban's appearance at A-Day in a coat in tie is whether he will have that dress code on fall game days.

Former Alabama Football Coach Gene Stallings is on record as saying he wore a jacket and necktie as a head coach because he was going to work, and that's the way he dressed for his job. It should be remembered that he was an assistant coach under two coat-and-tie (and hat) coaches, Paul Bryant at Bama and Tom Landry at the Dallas Cowboys.

But some very fine football coaches over the years have gotten the job done in different apparel. If dress had anything to do with winning championships, every coach would wear a houndstooth hat.

One reason Nick Saban may have been in coat and tie Saturday may have had nothing to do with his A-Day coaching duties. (Officially he was "commissioner," but he was obviously in full coaching mode as he barked to players, assistant coaches, managers, players, and officials.)

Saban had some speaking duties Saturday, including those to Tide Pride members. One of those addresses was to members of the A-Club. The A-Club (made up of former athletes in all sports and a handful of honorary members) made Saban an honorary member. Although all head coaches are eventually taken in as honorary members, it was unprecedented for a coach to be honored so quickly.

While visiting with the A-Club, diminutative Jerry Duncan, now a svelte 150 or so pounds, was introduced to Saban as an upcoming inductee into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame. Although Duncan claimed to have been "6-6, 250 when Coach Bryant recruited me," he was actually a 180-pound offensive tackle.

Saban was asked if he would recruit Jerry Duncan.

The Tide coach discussed some of his recruiting philosophy, agreeing that speed is critical, but that in the trenches there has to be beef, too. He used as an example boxers all doing the same things, but there being a good reason that heavyweights don't fight lightweights.

"We'd still recruit you, Jerry," Saban concluded. "But not for offensive tackle."

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