There is no one in college football better at adjusting to the changes in the sport as Alabama football coach Nick Saban. The transfer portal has changed how college football rosters are managed in a major way, but Saban has some critiques.
“I think the portal is fine. I think players ought to have the opportunity to go to other places if they choose to do that,” Saban said, before diving in on his issues with the current system, via 247Sports. “But we also had a rule where they had to sit out for a year if they chose to do that. I think that is something that creates stability for them and it also creates stability for roster management.”
Quarterbacks are especially quick to move schools, and it makes sense. There are only 130 FBS teams, so 130 quarterbacks have the opportunity to start at any given time. If a guy feels buried, it makes sense that he’d look for an opportunity to play, especially as he reaches his upperclassman years. Alabama’s Mac Jones, who waited his turn behind Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa, got his chance to start this season, and lit it up.
“Look at a guy like Mac Jones who showed tremendous resilience here being here for three years…learning and developing and then having a great year, winning the Davey O’Brien and being a Heisman finalist, being a guy who overcame adversity,” Saban said. “If you ask him, that’s going to make him more successful in life.”
— 247Sports (@247Sports) February 4, 2021
Saban says that he thinks the one-year waiting period for a player to play for his new school after transferring brought some balance to the system. Waivers have become more common now, and there is currently a proposal to give every player one free transfer, which is expected to pass.
It doesn’t sound like Nick Saban is in love with that idea though.
“When people can just go wherever they want to go, whenever they want to go, they don’t necessarily have the commitment in what they choose to do in the future. That’s not how things work in life. I’m all for the transfer portal…but the penalty we’ve had for not being immediately eligible, that deters (transferring) to some degree and I think that strikes a good balance.”
As recently as 2014, Nick Saban railed against up-tempo offenses, going so far as to raise player safety concerns. Fast forward a few years, and he was bringing in the likes of Lane Kiffin and Steve Sarkisian to implement those systems in Tuscaloosa. Saban is obviously welcome to his opinion and may not like the direction in which things are going, but he’s going to do everything he can to have Alabama football advantage of the new rules.
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