Sizing up Saban

Nick Saban moved closer to becoming the Dolphins' new head coach when he met with Wayne Huizenga and Eddie Jones on Tuesday night, and when a deal is struck the Dolphins probably will be lauded for landing one of the biggest names in coaching circles. Maybe Saban will follow in the footsteps of former mentor Bill Belichick and wind up having the same outrageous success at the NFL level, but is this the way to go for the Dolphins?

Yes, Saban is a big name because he has had success wherever he's been as a college coach and because he's been courted before by NFL teams.

But college success is no guarantee of success in the NFL (see Spurrier, Steve).

But the biggest problem we have with Saban coming to coach the Dolphins -- it's not a done deal yet, mind you, it's just looking very much like he'll be the one -- is he's more a defensive coach than an offensive coach.

Really, haven't we had enough of that already.

Jimmy Johnson was a defensive coach, so was Dave Wannstedt, isn't it time for an offensive guru?

Huizenga obviously wants a coach he thinks will be successful, but he also wants someone who will put people in the stands. You do that with offense, not defense.

Let's be honest here. Even when the Dolphins had success under Johnson and Wannstedt, they weren't exactly an exciting team to watch.

Maybe Saban leaves the offense alone, like Belichick has done with Charlie Weis in New England, but maybe his defense-first philosophy is seen everywhere, a la Wannstedt.

For my money, if the Dolphins are going to go with a defensive coach, then interim head coach Jim Bates should be given a shot.

The Dolphins are playing very hard under him, they've been in every game, and they also haven't been quite as conservative offensively as they were under Wannstedt (although that would be hard to do).

Center Seth McKinney made his preference known on Wednesday when he said he's enjoying playing for Bates and "would play for him again next year in a heartbeat."

But Bates won't get a shot because he's not a big enough name. That's all fine and dandy, but it's the product more than the name that's going to put people in the stands.

So we go back to the offense argument. No Saban here, we want someone like Cal head coach Jeff Tedford, someone like Eagles offensive coordinator Brad Childress, someone like Tennessee offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger.

We want offense.

Saban very well might be a fine choice, but he wouldn't be ou first choice.

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