A football lifer gives insight into how the Alabama Crimson Tide continue to be the most dominant force in college football.
Savage has had a long career in football, serving in nearly every capacity in the sport. A small college quarterback, he has served as an assistant coach and scout in both college and professional football. He was the general manager of the Cleveland Browns and is now a radio color analyst for the Crimson Tide Sports Network. In several of these capacities, he has worked with or for Nick Saban, the Alabama head coach who has won five national championships—four of those since arriving in Tuscaloosa in 2007. Thus Savage has had a front-seat view of Saban’s nearly unimaginable run of success with the Crimson Tide. Furthermore, in providing scouting reports to Saban and his staff on every opponent since he took over his radio gig, the author has contributed to Alabama’s run of dominance. In this book, written with sports journalist Glier (How the SEC Became Goliath: The Making of College Football's Most Dominant Conference, 2012, etc.), Savage provides his “textbook on Saban’s way of doing business at Alabama.” Because he has worked as both a coach and in personnel, the author is equally adept at switching among tactics, strategy on the field, and player evaluation. He effectively conveys the complexities of football for an audience of football junkies and casual fans alike. Fans of college football generally and Alabama in particular will especially value the book. However, Savage falls short in two areas: there is a lot of repetition not only of concepts, but of pet phrases and ideas, and the author too frequently reiterates Saban’s greatness as a coach and Alabama’s success as a program under him (both of which are self-evident at this point).
There are many good reasons why Saban’s Alabama teams have won four national championships in the past decade, and Savage effectively reveals how and why.