Unfortunately for Saban, Culpepper's surgically repaired knee didn't allow him to do either through the first four games of the season, so in came insurance policy Joey Harrington.
Harrington has been asked merely to manage the game efficiently and, finally, after playing like he did in four losing seasons in Detroit, with seven interceptions in his first three starts — all losses — Joey Blue Skies is bringing smiles to the faces of Saban and Dolfans everywhere.
He has efficiently directed two straight victories over teams that were coming in on a combined 10-game winning streak (Bears and Chiefs).
And on Sunday, Harrington finally refrained from throwing one of his trademark no-reason interceptions as he completed 19 of 35 for 201 yards while adroitly dodging pressure. He even had a rare seven-yard scramble for a first down.
Harrington has figured out that by allowing the league's second-ranked defense to make play after play while he basically stays out of the way adds up to a winning formula.
"I feel more comfortable mostly about what I have to do to fit into this team. I know that I don't have to make plays on my own," Harrington said. "I'm learning that I don't have to be the guy to create offense. I don't have to create points. I don't have to pull them out of thin air.
"With a team that has this much talent and a team that has a defense that is playing so well — if you put the team in a position to be successful they're going to give it right back to you."
To his credit, Harrington did throw three touchdown passes against the Bears after his defense handed him the ball on Chicago's six, 12 and 24-yard lines.
"As he gets more knowledge and experience in what we're doing and what's expected of him we can minimize some of the bad plays," Saban said. "That's the difference. If we could continue to do that I think we're going to enhance our chances to being successful."