Saban way produces tenacious defenses for Tide _ and ‘Dawgs
ATLANTA /January 05, 2018(AP)(STL.News)— As Alabama All-America defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick watched a YouTube video of last week’s thrilling Rose Bowl between Georgia and Oklahoma, there was a sense of familiarity with the Bulldogs.
“We basically run the same defense. They added a couple of things just like we add some things,” Fitzpatrick said. “Even the hand signals and stuff are pretty similar. It’s pretty interesting.”
Not surprising, though.
Georgia coach Kirby Smart spent eight years as defensive coordinator for Alabama coach Nick Saban. Alabama’s defenses have ranked in the top-20 nationally in yards per play every season since ’08. The Tide has been ranked in the top-10 in six of those seasons. Defense has been the backbone of four national championship teams, and both the third-ranked Bulldogs and fourth-ranked Tide bring top-10 defenses into the College Football Playoff national championship game on Monday.
Saban’s defenses — and now Smart’s, too — are detail-oriented, fundamentally sound and diverse.
Saban’s defensive playbook is expansive, and formations can be confounding for opposing quarterbacks to decipher before the ball is snapped. Playing defense for Saban requires not just talent — and there is so much talent — but smarts and discipline.
“He’s going to run every defense known to