Is Nick Saban the 'Rain Man' of College Football? - Champions of The Round Table

Champions of The Round Table


Who was Rain Man? 

Most of you are familiar with the Oscar
winning movie starring Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman. The principal character, played by Dustin Hoffman, was inspired by the late Kim Peek of Salt Lake City.

Peek was a “Savant,” a person with developmental disorders who displays one or more areas of expertise ability, or brilliance in contrast to their overall limitations. 

In Peek's case his social and life skills were non-existent, but he had the ability to memorize whole books, hundreds of them. He could read both pages of a book in 10 seconds, using his right eye to read the right page, and the left eye to read the left.

Peek knew the phone book by heart. There were many other things Kim could do that normal people simply could not.

Savantism is an aspect of autism, and autism is what’s called a spectrum condition. Many people you know and love have a touch of rain man in them. I know some personally, and though they are so highly functioning that no one realizes they are less than normal, they do have some unusual abilities. 

Nick Saban have a touch of rain man in him as well? Let's look at the evidence.


Peculiar Behavior:

On two occasions, while holding the BCS national title trophy above his head, he acted as if he were hailing a cab.

Somewhere in that diabolical mind of his, the bells and whistles had to be going off that this is a special moment, hopefully someone is taking a picture. Outwardly however, the emotion does not always surface to the face.


Unusual Attention to Detail:

Having dealt with extremely detail-oriented people, their ability to focus on such minute details inside a bigger picture or project is enough to drive you crazy. At the same time, they can accomplish things that loafers like myself couldn't do even if someone pointed a gun to my head. 

Since arriving at the
University of Alabama, Nick Saban has been on a quest to improve everything. Not just the players, but the plays, the staff, the secretary, the weight room, the facilities, the decorations, and he has hired experts and consultants in every field to assist him.

Saban even berates the Alabama fans from time to time if he feels they aren't on their game.

This is particularly amusing, because the press continually cautions him that he shouldn't do it. The fans, however, don’t seem to mind. The Alabama's fan base has historically felt that if you “keep taking us to Atlanta, we’ll do whatever you say.”

Uncommon Work Habits:

Why would anyone memorize the phone book? Only Kim Peek can answer that question. 

Nick Saban has made no secret about how he coaches his team. ESPN follows him around with a camera, and he’s written books on the subject.

If you studied Nick Saban and tried to copy his methods and effort, you might be able to keep up for a while, perhaps even months.

Eventually, however, you would get tired, worn out, and
start letting details slip. Not Nick Saban. He is driven to accomplish these tasks by some invisible force that comes from within. 

Urban Meyer is driven to accomplish the same things, and has a similar track record of success, but is also a threat to crack mentally or physically at any point. Many men are driven and successful. Nick Saban is functioning at a level beyond.


Unusual Appearance:

That strange get-up he wears at practice is weird. The straw hat he wears at practice was going for $60 a pop during his first fall in Tuscaloosa. It’s a STRAW HAT!!!


Outbursts of Anger:

I live for the day when some junior reporter from some advertiser rag asks him about the depth chart or how badly he expects to beat the cupcakes on the schedule.

First comes a long pause. At this point, those of us watching online will hit the pause button so the computer can load the stream and we can watch what’s coming uninterrupted.

His face grows stern, his jaw clenches like a piece of granite. Then out it comes, it’s like watching a big thunderhead roll in. You like to watch that lightning crash down and hear the claps of thunder, but you’re glad its WAY over there.   


Actually, he’s nice to the reporters. The staff and players get to see him unfiltered.


No Mouth Filter:

I love it when a man gets really old and he starts telling the truth about everything, no matter who it offends. At some point I plan on faking it if I don’t get there naturally. 

In our society, I guess we have gotten hammered so much to avoid offending anyone—it’s as if we spend 80 percent of our time telling lies or half truths.

Nick Saban calls it like he sees it. Recently, when unscrupulous agents targeted yet another of Alabama’s players, possibly costing him eligibility, Nick Saban called them pimps. 

This has gotten him into hot water on more than a few occasions, where his honesty was taken wrongly by our overreacting, can’t-offend-anyone society. Fortunately, like all things, Nick notes past mistakes and moves to correct them. 

The last 24 months have been more or less free of any Nick-Gate stories.

Whatever drives Nick Saban internally and however he functions, he’s certainly one of the top coaches in college football.

The combination of Nick Saban, the Alabama facilities and tradition, and the winning environment forged by SEC competition may go down as one of the more memorable and significant in the last 50 years.

Already having the name Nick Saban on your coaching resume gets your foot in the door just about anywhere.

11/16/2010 16:19:47

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12/2/2010 13:29:56

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12/6/2010 16:40:35

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12/10/2010 11:12:47

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12/14/2010 15:17:45

The sky gives space and peace and serenity

12/26/2010 16:15:01

The more failures, the more chances for success


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