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Saban picks Peyton Manning’s no-huddle brain during visit

Nick Saban Peyton Manning AP

In mid-December last year, Lane Kiffin was brought to Alabama by head coach Nick Saban to help evaluate the Tide’s offense ahead of its BCS bowl matchup with Oklahoma.  Less than a month later, the former USC head coach was hired as Saban’s offensive coordinator.

While another hire likely won’t come out of another high-profile visit, Saban has again decided to pick the brain of some offensive-centric football types in his never-ending quest to improve his football program.

Saban confirmed to the media that current Denver Broncos and former Tennessee Vols quarterback Peyton Manning, along with Manning’s coordinator Adam Gase, visited Tuscaloosa for two days last week for a meeting that may have violated the NFL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement.  Saban said Manning has “been a friend and very well-respected for a long time,” and the visit came about as the player and coach were taking a football tour to select cities across the country.

Given the proliferation of no-huddle, spread offenses in the college game — and the Tide’s notorious struggles in stopping them — and Manning’s expertise in running such a system, Saban jumped at the opportunity to pick the brain of one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game.

“Since they’re a no-huddle team, we had a lot of questions for them, in terms of what gives them problems and what defensive teams do that give them problems,” Saban said. “That was a mutual benefit. I know it was a benefit to us. I hope it was a benefit to them as well.”

Saban’s attempts to decipher the no-huddle riddle from a defensive standpoint has become almost legendary; earlier this month, a football clinic hosted by Saban featured, among others, the head coach of the fast-paced, high-octane Baylor Bears, Art Briles.

“The goals that you have for next year are basically the things that you struggled with last year,” Saban said in explaining the proliferation of high-profile visitors of late. “You make a list of those things through your quality control, and then you go out and look for people who might be able to help you develop a little more expertise, a better way to teach, a better way to coach some situation.

“Sometimes we bring somebody in here to visit with us. Sometimes we have people call us and ask us if they can come and visit us and try to learn from us, which we share with quite a few people. I think we usually learn from them as well when that happens.”

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12 Responses to “Saban picks Peyton Manning’s no-huddle brain during visit”
  1. h0c2000 says: Apr 18, 2014 4:52 PM

    Saban’s asking how Payme approaches the post season. Then he’ll do the opposite.

  2. Deb says: Apr 18, 2014 4:57 PM

    When it comes to the no-huddle offense, Saban couldn’t have chosen a better brain to pick. I love that he’s always strategizing and trying to elevate his team’s play. And I love the same thing about Manning. Both of them demonstrate that you get to be the best at your craft by constantly striving to improve rather than being content with your achievements.

    As an aside, I wonder if Florio will ever grow up enough to mention Saban in an article without obsessing over how he left the Dolphins.

  3. tigersdawgs says: Apr 18, 2014 5:12 PM

    Saban a little worried bout that ol school a little south?? WDE

  4. liverpoolred04 says: Apr 18, 2014 5:20 PM

    Not the same type no huddle he sees in the SEC, not gonna help, he’s still a POS leprechaun….#btchtits

  5. bostonfrogs says: Apr 18, 2014 5:20 PM

    That’s why Saban is the best in the business. Too bad he’s such a miserable prick, because he’ll never get the credit he deserves.

  6. mogogo1 says: Apr 18, 2014 6:21 PM

    Saban had a senior QB who was as close to mistake-free as you’ll ever see. Yet rather than let him throw to get into decent field goal range against Auburn, he elected to run the ball before trying a 57-yard field goal. Does that sound like a coach who would follow Peyton Manning’s lead and let his QB audible plays all game long?

  7. Deb says: Apr 18, 2014 6:25 PM

    I agree with you on that game, mogogo1, but he’s not talking to Peyton to get tips on running a no-huddle. He’s talking to Peyton to get tips on stopping a no-huddle.

  8. dcroz says: Apr 18, 2014 9:13 PM

    “Given the proliferation of no-huddle, spread offenses in the college game — and the Tide’s notorious struggles in stopping them…”

    You mean like every other team out there? And that ‘Bama still beats more of them than it loses to, which is better than what pretty much anyone else can say? And I have a feeling that the hiring of Lane Kiffin indicates that Saban realizes that, while he certainly wants to figure out the no-huddle’s kryptonite, he knows that at least part of the answer lies in having more of an up-tempo offense himself. In fact, that may be why he was talking to Manning, not about stopping a no-huddle, but how to implement one of his own.

  9. normtide says: Apr 18, 2014 11:26 PM

    “Given the tide’s notorious struggle to stop the no huddle”? Check Alabama’s record vs no huddle teams. Now I admit the only teams to beat them the last two years were no huddle types, but they have a winning record vs the HUNH in that period and over the last five years. Ole Miss’s coach innovated it, and the rebels were shut out this last year by Bama. Bama shut out Gus’s offense in 2011. The problem is Saban’s success has the media and opposing fans making the standard of success equal zero losses. I’m a huge Bama fan, but I fully understand we will lose a game from time to time. We lost two games to two great teams. It isn’t Armageddon. Bama won 3 titles in 4 years. The program hasn’t imploded over two losses.

    Expect Saban to do what he does, adjust. Another thing he does best if recruit. Not to mention he is pretty good at winning too. In all, I do like that expectations are lowered. The pressure on last year’s team was suffocating.

    As a Tide fan, I think the future is still pretty bright. The run as being the top program will end at some point, but we have a few good years left.

  10. normtide says: Apr 18, 2014 11:31 PM

    Oh, and as for this being a violation of the NFL CBA, it’s another strike against unions. Manning, an employee, is spending his spare time, and money on travel, trying to be a better employee. The NFL union insisted on a rule that would punish that. Yes, America needs more unions….

  11. Professor Fate says: Apr 19, 2014 12:07 AM

    What does Manning’s alma mater think about him consorting with the enemy?

  12. NakedCowboy! says: Apr 19, 2014 3:10 AM

    dont know how this could be a violation of any kind?
    2 people talking football for mutual benefit… nothing wrong with that!
    if anyone thinks saban is running no huddle… they are crazy! He has done well with ground and pound…

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