Alabama’s Saban already ‘thinking ahead’ to next season

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. — Though other current coaching giants who also won two national titles in the last decade may be leaving the college game or temporarily stepping aside — see Southern California’s Pete Carroll and Florida’s Urban Meyer— Alabama coach Nick Saban isn’t going anywhere.
His likeness will be immortalized in a statue at Bryant-Denny Stadium along the Walk of Champions in the stadium’s north end. Alabama athletic director Mal Moore didn’t have any further details on Friday, but Saban is expected to join the Crimson Tide’s coaching pantheon of Wallace Wade, Frank Thomas, Paul “Bear” Bryant and Gene Stallings.

“I guess that when you’re driven and you put as much into what you do as we have, not just for this year but or 30-some years, you would hope that something you do leaves a mark that is positive, that maybe could affect someone in a positive way in the future,” Saban said the day after his team won the Bowl Championship Series title after beating Texas 37-21 at the Rose Bowl. “That would be the most significant thing I would see from something like that.”

In the statue, Saban probably won’t be smiling. His focus will be intense, perhaps looking to what lies ahead, just as he did less than 12 hours after hoisting the crystal trophy.

Already, his message was clear: “I’m always thinking ahead, anticipating problems. Every success brings a new set of problems. Every success brings a new set of issues — the attitude of next year’s team, development of the players for next year, issues that you have from a staff standpoint or player standpoint, personnel standpoint, recruiting standpoint.