| FTBL Recruiting 2008: Is Coach Nick Saban a Maestro?


Played like a Stradivarius

When looking over the recruiting season for this outstanding class I started looking back at January of 2007. The media, rivals, and anyone with an opinion all were jumping on the bandwagon labeled, “Saban is a liar.” Yet, despite all of that bad press, we kept saying, “Its putting the name Saban and Alabama out there day after day after day.” Exposure, no matter good or bad, is just that. Exposure.

I wonder at the time just how long it would last. It wasn’t a thought of how long the bad side of the comments would last because I knew they would continue throughout the year and possibly longer. What I did wonder is how Saban would play the media. I knew it would be like a violin, perhaps a little scratchy at times, but never the less played.

Today, the tune has changed. It’s no longer “Chop Sticks” but it’s Felix Mendelssohn's in E minor, Op. 64.

The lights blinked for Alabama fans alerting us to the beginning when Michael Williams took his wand, tapped his stand, and started the warm up. Quietly, over the next few weeks we heard sounds that perked the ears when we started seeing more and more commitments declare their intentions to play for Alabama.

Seemingly, at that point, things weren’t moving quickly but steadily.

When the football season finally rolled around this was no longer a quiet symphony, but a piece that started resounding throughout the SEC. By the time we had reached the end of the season we found ourselves, as fans, looking at the chance of having one of the best, if not the best class in Alabama history.

Here is the time I found myself sitting on the edge of my seat, not spellbound, but mesmerized at hearing something I expected to hear in a few years but no where near this soon. I wasn’t the only one. It wasn’t limited to Alabama fans as well. Now, all of those fans that said Saban wouldn’t be able to do the same things he did at LSU not only were seeing it, but also seeing it in his first full season on the recruiting trail.

They were wondering, “How on earth is this going to play out?”

Answer: right before their very eyes.

Sure, they had a small glimmer of hope when it was announced that Antoine Caldwell was holding a press conference on the 14th of January about whether he would return to the Tide squad for his senior campaign. The majority of Alabama fans along with rival fans across the SEC were all proclaiming loudly, “No way someone calls a press conference to say he’s staying.”

Well, not only did that press conference have the eyes and ears of those around the Bama fans base, it has the attention of the media and the rivals.
Caldwell, with Saban following him, stood before the entire South East talking about being a part of something special, working for a common goal, and being a integral part of putting Alabama back in the Championship races.

That media blitz was as loud as a cymbal crash.

Then, only a few weeks later and even though we knew Harbin was a heavy Bama lean he announces he’s playing football for UA. Oh, but that didn’t make the week a good week, with Alonzo Lawrence announcing soon after (after he had said it would be on NSD) suddenly Alabama fans were looking at a great week and it wasn’t the week of NSD. How could that be?

The media, the rivals, the Bama fans heard it loudly. Something big was continuing at the University.


Now, just yesterday, when virtually every other fan in the nation was sitting back waiting for today, what happens? One of the nations best athletes, a great prospect, commits to Alabama. It isn’t the case of Saban locking the borders down in the state of Alabama, now he’s gone to Michigan and in a very short period of time pulled in one of the nations best running backs in Mark Ingram.

Cymbals crash. People notice.

If you look at the way today has progressed you saw one of the biggest question marks answered, and answered before any other. Most, rivals that is, hoped that Melvin Ray would pursue a different career path and take up baseball. A lot of Alabama fans did as well. But, to alleviate concern, or to perhaps create some around the SEC, he sticks with his word and chooses to wear Crimson.

Did you notice how the announcements were scheduled today? You saw the names come in one by one. Then, we see Julio announce on national TV.


It was a symphony. Bar by bar, note by note, you saw a conference watch every move and listen to every bit of news that emerged from Alabama.

Now, take a pause, and reflect on one thought.

We know the organizational style our head coach has displayed in every minute detail of his tenure so far. Here, have we witnessed another example? One thing we can say for sure, for the next few weeks leading up until signing day Alabama is going to be on the tip of the tongue of every college football fan.

This recruiting season has ended on a high note. It is the kind of finish the fits an aria by a Soprano. One so high, it shatters glass houses. These houses shattered today lack one feature in that they aren’t crimson-colored.
The fat lady is singing so loud I can hear her all the way up here in Ohio. RTR

Great class brought in by CNS and his staff. Look for another bumper crop next year as well. In fact, as long as CNS is in T'town, the Tide will continue to bring in top 5 classes.
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