Think back to the days where Nick Saban was roaming the sidelines at LSU, and remember what you thought when they took the field. I, for one, do remember thinking how much talent he had brought to the Bayou, and how most all positions on the field had a big, fast, and strong athlete. Bad as I didnt want to admit it, it was true, and not many teams matched up physically.
But guess what, now that is Alabama.
Few will argue that Coach Nick Saban has brought an abundance of talent to the Capstone, and it appears he isn't done just yet. With the last two recruiting classes being ranked at or close to the very top, Alabama is starting to look a lot like the aforementioned Saban team of years ago.
Difference is now that they are all wearing the crimson and white, they are all playing in one of the most storied programs that there is in college football, and they all will soon to be spending some of their Saturday afternoons with over 92,000+ of their closest friends in Bryant Denny Stadium.
Some speculate that this might be the most talented bunch of Tide players that they can remember, as a group. I, for one, tend to agree, but you also have to remember the difference from now to then.
Coach “Bear” Bryant didn't have scholarship limits at that time, and with his name alone had the pick of the litter. Yes, he had talent, and plenty of it, but was it of this caliber? Did young men come out of high school with the physiques they have now, and the speed they have now?
Today’s athlete seems to be more of a polished player from the start than of that time. They are strong, they are fast, and they can make that jump, albeit tough, to the Division I level it seems, and some with not much possibility of failure.
Coach Gene Stallings had a talented team, and not to forget to thank Coach Bill Curry for part of that talent pool left behind to win a National Championship in 1992. That is, and will be, one of the best defenses Alabama has put on a field, and again the talent level was very high.
You have to mention names like Copeland, Curry, London, Langham, and Teague, just to name a few. Also, one of my favorite players to suit up in the crimson and white, Jay Barker. A very good backfield in Derrick Lassick and Martin Houston, and of course who can forget David Palmer, “The Deuce.”
Shaun Alexander is of course forever in the heart of the Crimson Tide faithful, and there have been multiple talented Tide players that we could list on and on. But, fact is that the young men that Coach Saban has running around at practice now might be as talented a group as you will ever be able to recall at the Capstone.
The depth is becoming a factor, and a luxury that Bama has not seen in quite some time, and one that might turn out to be a deciding factor in games to come.
The bottom line is Coach Saban has instilled a discipline second to none. He has enforced an attitude of “team” and pushed the the importance of “finishing,” and has brought back a sense of Pride in the program that needed to be spiked.
Which, in turn, when you walk into Bryant Denny Stadium on a Saturday afternoon, and you hear the Million Dollar Band playing, and you see all your friends wearing that crimson and white, and you hear the voice of “The Bear” saying, “I ain’t never been nothing but a winner!”—it is then you can thank Saban for bringing the talent in that made it all possible…again.