Tide Takes: Has this been Saban’s Best Coaching Job?

TUSCALOOSA, AL - SEPTEMBER 02: Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban talks to quarterback Jalen Milroe (4) on the sideline during a college football game against the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders on September 02, 2023 at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire)

Every Monday right here you can read Tide Takes, where we’ll get into a different topic on the Crimson Tide, break down the previous game, preview the upcoming game, and everything in between.

In this week’s edition, we are in the lull period between the end of the regular season and the start of bowl season. But it’s a familiar position for the Crimson Tide, who find themselves back in the College Football Playoff after missing out last season. Now that the dust is beginning to settle, it’s worth asking whether or not this is Nick Saban’s best coaching job yet:

Alabama found itself in a tough spot in late September. Following a loss to Texas and a horrible performance against South Florida, it needed a hit of the reset button. At the time, Saban received criticism for how he handled the quarterback position and the benching of Jalen Milroe.

But looking back now, it may have been the best thing for the team. The Milroe benching did two things. One, it solidified Milroe as the unquestioned best option at quarterback for the team and allowed him to no longer look over his shoulder. Two, it seemed to galvanize the team to rally together at a time where things almost seemed to be hanging by a thread.

When it comes to looking at the “best coaching jobs”, it’s hard to argue against undefeated seasons in both 2009 and 2020. But what this team has accomplished after what it faced early in the year gives it a strong case as Saban’s best work yet.

Another underrated aspect that was questioned at the time but paid dividends was the hiring of both Tommy Rees and Kevin Steele. Both coordinators have excelled this season as the team has figured itself out, and they are huge reasons as to why.

Steele has the Alabama defense back to what it once was after what were some down defensive years, and Rees has brought out the best in Jalen Milroe and the offense.

Saban and the team still have work left to do. But it’s unquestionable already that this is one of Nick Saban’s best coaching jobs, and very well might be at the top when all is said and done.