Thanks to Joey Burton for passing on this article about Coach Nick Saban written by Alex Scarborough for ESPN. It's well worth the read in it's entirety but here are a few nuggets I pulled from it:
"If you play chess, he was the master," Al Bohl said. "Someone else could have three or four offensive things they'd do differently and he would checkmate all of them, and he'd have maybe 10 more great moves he'd never have to use."
The same things you hear about Saban's practices and his defensive schemes today were apparent from day one at Toledo. Bohl's son, a safety on the team, told him, "Dad, it's unbelievable. ... What we were doing before wasn't even close to being this sophisticated."
"He brought a brand-new energy to the practices," Bohl said. "His organizational skills were off the charts. You aren't jacking around at a Nick Saban practice. Everyone has a schedule. You don't have the No. 1s going against the No. 2s and there are 50 guys on the sidelines watching; everybody is in an activity doing something with a purpose."
Focus, attention to detail, a singular purpose; those were the things that Saban had in spades. Toledo went from a .500 team to 9-2 in his first season.
"I noticed a difference from when I went with him at Toledo and then at Michigan State," said Dean Pees, now the defensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens. "I even notice a difference now. But it's just gotten better and better and better. You didn't really feel like this guy was unsure of what he was going."
From the minute George Perles saw a 26-year-old Saban scouring film at the Pittsburgh Steelers' offices, he was impressed.
"First of all, he's very intelligent," he said. "Secondly, he works very hard. And that's a good combination. He was always early and always stayed late. It was obvious he wanted to be a head coach very badly."