Nick Saban’s best NFL coaching style doppelganger is certainly Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots, but apparently, Jason Garrett of the Dallas Cowboys has his mind set on emulating the Alabama Crimson Tide’s head man.
When you think of Saban, the first thing that comes to mind is championships. The second? Well, it should be the hard-hitting smash mouth style of play that his teams have become known for — on both sides of the ball. Even with a dual-threat quarterback leading the way right now in Jalen Hurts, the Crimson Tide still know how to pound the rock. That’s something that will always be a part of what Alabama does as long as Saban as there.
He doesn’t do flashy. He simply asks his team to execute on the fundamentals, and the wins have followed.
Garrett reportedly feels the same way about the game of football, according to Jon Machota of the Dallas News. In a recent Q&A online, Machota was asked about trick plays and why Garrett doesn’t do them more often:
That’s never been Jason Garrett’s style. He’ll pull one out here and there, but it’s never going to be a major part of his game plan. He might seem to be having more fun than Nick Saban but I’ve always thought that’s exactly what he wants to be like as a coach. Alabama will try a trick play once in a while but they’d rather play smash-mouth football and win with the running game and good defense. It’s all about eliminating turnovers and controlling the clock. That game plan can get messed up real quick when bad execution on a trick play leads to a score for your opponent.
It’s hard to argue with Saban’s success. He’s arguably the greatest college football coach of all-time and he’ll go down as one of the best coaches ever. Period.
He doesn’t put up with any nonsense and he doesn’t really change much. Does he adapt? Sure. Hurts at quarterback is proof of that. So was the chance he took on Lane Kiffin coming in as offensive coordinator.
But when push comes to shove, Saban knows what works and he knows that fundamentals always win in the game of football. You win at the line of scrimmage. You win by controlling the clock. You win by physically dominating an opposing offense with your defense. You win by pounding the rock and controlling tempo on offense.
Again, the results are hard to argue, and with a talented team down in Dallas that’s only going to improve in 2017, it makes sense why Garrett wants to align his coaching style with Saban’s.
Success leaves clues.