- Sep 4, 2017
"It used to be that good defense beats good offense. Good defense doesn't beat good offense anymore," Saban told ESPN on Friday. "It's just like last week. Georgia has as good a defense as we do an offense, and we scored 41 points on them [in a 41-24 Alabama win]. That's not the way it used to be. It used to be if you had a good defense, other people weren't going to score. You were always going to be in the game.
"It's hard to coach defense now, because there are so many run-pass concepts in what everybody does," Saban said. "I mean, it's really, really hard to coach the secondary ... because you get so many mismatches back there."
Saban said part of the difficulty in developing elite defensive backs and having them ready early in their career is that most of the best athletes and skill players are playing offense now in high school and that very few play on defense. In fact, Saban said he worked senior receiver DeVonta Smith at cornerback in preseason camp to have him ready in an emergency situation.
"None of these skill guys grow up playing defense, from junior high, high school or whatever," Saban said. "So all of the best athletes end up playing offense. One of the best corners on our team is [Smith]. This year in camp, I trained him at corner. He can cover anybody, and he never played defense in his life because he was on the offensive side. You don't think Jaylen Waddle would be a good defensive back?"
Even though he doesn't like it, Alabama football coach Nick Saban conceded Friday that a good defense no longer regularly beats a good offense in the college football ranks.
Offense continues to govern the sport, with this season projected to set an all-time single-season high in expected points added per play (0.07), according to ESPN Stats & Information Group, and an all-time low in three-and-out percentage (28.8 percent).
Fewer drives end in punts, and more punts are fair-caught.
I guess the precipitous dropoff in punts this year may be due to Covid and less defensive practice.