Monday, September 18, 2017


I've enjoyed reading 4th And Goal Every Day by Phil Savage.  Savage isn't just a writer -- he is a former NFL assistant coach and general manager who has worked with some of the games best coaches.  Add to that his current position as radio color analyst for Alabama football and you have a very unique set of eyes on the Crimson Tide football program and the championship philosophy of Nick Saban.  Savage chose the title 4th And Goal Every Day because he felt it summed up the mindset in the Bama program -- a constant sense of urgency.

For me, I was especially drawn to the sections of the book that dealt with recruiting and player and team development.  Not surprisingly they go hand-in-hand:
Alabama does not care so much "what" a high school player is doing on the field.  It cares more about "how" a player is doing it.  There is a big difference.  What he is doing might look dominant against high school players, but how he is doing it -- athleticism, instinct, explosiveness -- might show his further potential.
Nick Saban would rather take a guy with "tools" in his body that have not yet bloomed over a high school player who is "an effort guy" making twenty-five tackles through willpower.  Saban thinks he can coach the player with tools so that his pure ability will allow him to far surpass the results of the overachiever with limited skills.
As for player development, it should surprise no one that a big key of Bama's success is the structure of their practice:
Recruiting is significant, but what they do best at Alabama is player development.  Talk to any NFL scout and he will tell you that the Alabama practice field resembles a pro camp more than any other college program in the country.  The drills and techniques being taught in Tuscaloosa are the same ones used during the week by NFL players who slip on the pads for the Sunday games.  The Crimson Tide soaks its players in film work, fundamentals, repetition, and patience.
If you love football, this is an outstanding book with Savage going into the details of teaching, coaching, evaluating and giving great stories to support those areas.  But it's also a great book for coaches who want an inside look at one of the best. 


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