Nick Saban

Nick Saban: coaches are ‘moral compass’ for players, but can’t ‘drive the ship’


With the Aaron Hernandez story still very much on the minds of reporters this week, coaches have been getting questions during SEC Media Days about their thoughts on the subject of player behavior. Florida’s Will Muschamp said Tuesday that coaches are “100 percent responsible” for their players, but stopped short of saying they can know what their players are doing 24/7.

Similarly, Alabama’s Nick Saban explained Thursday that a coach can only provide guidance to a player; what the player does with that guidance is up to them.

“We can be the moral compass for our young people but we cannot always be there to drive the ship,” Saban said during his Q&A with media.

The opinions on the responsibility of coaches when it comes to player behavior vary quite a bit. Some think a coach is there solely to win games and graduate their players. Others think it’s a coach’s place to be a role model. As with most things, it falls somewhere in between.

Coaches can give players every opportunity to be successful in football and in life, but ultimately, the athlete has to decide for himself if that’s what he wants. Will coaches take a risk on certain players or give them more chances because of talent? Of course. They still have a job to do.

But it should be considered that, for some of these players, football is more of an escape than a privilege. Sometimes, a coach has to consider if the alternative — a life without the structure of football — is actually worse for the athlete. Not every light bulb turns on at the same time for everyone.

There are obvious exceptions — murder, rape and the like — and each coach handles their personnel differently. But when it comes to player behavior, there is no easy answer.

Bowling Green HC Dino Babers helps save woman from burning car

WEST LAFAYETTE, IN - SEPTEMBER 26: Head coach Dino Babers of the Bowling Green Falcons watches the game against the Purdue Boilermakers at Ross-Ade Stadium on September 26, 2015 in West Lafayette, Indiana.  (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
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How about we start off the morning with something positive for a change?

As the Bowling Green caravan was driving back from Saturday’s game against Buffalo, a woman in front of the school’s four bus swerved and her vehicle hit the center divider on the Interstate in Northeast Ohio.  Shortly thereafter, the vehicle burst into flames.

That’s when Dino Babers, BGSU’s head coach, and trainer Chelsea Lowe jumped into action.  From the Toledo Blade:

The bus driver asked for permission to stop the bus, and I gave it to him — but I told him not to stop the other three buses,” Babers said. “Then he asked to go check out the car and see if the driver was hurt.

“I told him no, because if he was hurt there wouldn’t be anyone to drive the bus home.”

So that first BG bus, which was unaffected by the crash, stopped a short distance away, and Babers and Lowe went to the car.

“The closer we got to the car, the clearer we could see smoke billowing,” Lowe said. “We knew whoever was in the car wasn’t just going to walk away and have everything be OK.

Baber and Lowe were able to pull the 25-year-old woman away from the vehicle, and stayed with her until police and fire personnel arrived on the scene. The coach was even able to go back to the burning vehicle and retrieve the woman’s purse and keys.

As for Babers motivation in acting the way he did, read the Blade‘s account of the incident. It’ll be well worth your time.

UGA reaffirms commitment to Greyson Lambert as starting QB

ATHENS, GA - OCTOBER 03:  Greyson Lambert #11 of the Georgia Bulldogs is tackled by Minkah Fitzpatrick #29, Reggie Ragland #19 and Geno Matias-Smith #24 of the Alabama Crimson Tide at Sanford Stadium on October 3, 2015 in Athens, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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For those looking for a change under center Between the Hedges, think again.

In Georgia’s first loss Saturday, Alabama harassed and harangued Greyson Lambert into a miserable day.  The Virginia graduate transfer completed just 10-of-24 passes for 86 yards and an interception in the rain-soaked 38-10 home beatdown.

While some wondered whether UGA would pull the trigger and promote backup Brice Ramsey for the Week 6 game against Tennessee, offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer indicated that no change at the position is on the horizon — and that Ramsey would still get his opportunities.

“It’s no secret we plan on playing Brice in every game,” Schottenheimer said. “Greyson doesn’t need to look over his shoulder because Brice is going to play. …

“We believe in competition. Greyson doesn’t need to go look over his shoulder in terms of who is starting the game. He needs to worry about moving the team. He knows Brice is going to come in at some point. Nothing has changed. The rotation is what it is.”

If you were just going off the most recent tape, Ramsey’s play actually made it an easy decision for the staff to stick with status quo. Inserted in an attempt to breathe some life into a limp offense, Ramsey completed 3-of-6 passes, although two of those completions went to Tide defenders.