Alabama Football Signing Day Press Conference
February 7, 2007
Head Coach Nick Saban
“We are very pleased with the players we were able to attract in a short period of time here. With 30 days (total) and 18 days on the road I think it speaks volumes of what our staff did here, what the people at the university did here, from President (Robert) Witt to Mal Moore to the staff that works here in the athletic department to the academic staff, the faculty, I mean everybody contributed mightily to a very condensed version of the kind of effort that we would like to have here in recruiting in the future.
“I think this is certainly a starting point but I can’t emphasize to you enough the outstanding job that so many people did in signing this class. We are very pleased and happy with the class. This class obviously satisfied some needs. We got some size up front on defense and 10 players in the front seven in this class which I think is one of the areas that we targeted as an area of need for us. We were able to attract some other really good football players in some other areas. I don’t specifically get in to talking about every individual in this class. How they are ranked and rated kind of speaks for itself.
“My comment about all of that is when you buy a puppy dog, you don’t know whether he is going to grow up to be the best hunting dog or not. That is a little bit like what recruiting is. There is a lot of people who develop into fine players, make significant improvements based on their character and attitude and what is important to them and sometimes there are guys that don’t develop quite as much for whatever reasons. What they have accomplished to this point is how they get rated in the services and that is how it should be. The thing we need to focus on is how we can help them develop and be successful here in the future as football players, as people and as students.
“In recruiting the most important thing is to be able to develop relationships. Probably in this year we were developing contacts. What you would like when you are developing relationships, you would like to be able to affect and impact the process of what a young man goes through when he is making a decision on where to go to school. When you are developing contacts you are just trying to change people’s minds based on where they are in a process that has occurred over a long period of time. That is what we were faced with this year. What we are hopeful of is that we can develop relationships with the high school coaches in this state and the future players in this state, with people in our own family.
“It was difficult for our players to know us well enough to be great recruiters for us even though our players did a fantastic job of hosting and selling this university. This is all about relationships and people knowing each other. That is something we can improve on in the future based on the circumstances. We were pleased with the group that we have here.
On recruiting process in short time period
“I think you have to put things in a relative perspective. The most difficult recruiting year we had at LSU was our first year. We took that job in early December so we had even more time to try and develop relationships. The only thing that would be fair to compare it to would be that and that is not even fair in some ways. Because of what I said before about building relationships relative to changing mindsets, is a total different dynamic and that is what we are faced with when you come in this late in the recruiting process as we did this year. We are very pleased with the results that we got and I am very happy with the class that we got. Hopefully, these guys are going to be able to contribute to our team in a positive way in the near future. “
On recruiting quarterbacks
“I think the quarterback is a critical position. I think it always has to be evaluated based on the players you have. We are not in a position to do a really good job with that because it is difficult for us to find enough tape to see all of the quarterbacks here except for the one that played all last year, John Parker Wilson. That is a difficult management for us but with three on scholarship we felt like to take one this year would be a positive for the program. We felt good about the fact that we got one who has the size and some of the attributes that we look for in that position. When you go through a year-long process of evaluation I think you have a better opportunity to evaluate. When you get especially skill players in camp and you can see them throw the ball, catch the ball, run the ball, change direction, all those things. It is always better when you can see them in person than it is to try and evaluate them on film. Especially when it comes to a quarterback when judgment and accuracy our so important. Everyone is good on a highlight film. They complete every ball and have a 100 percent completion percentage so it is hard to know how accurate the player really is. That is one of the positions that we don’t like to recruit, we like to look at game tape. I don’t feel like it is important to get a guy in every class. I feel like it is the most important position to have strength and depth at. If you don’t have a good one that makes it more difficult to win.”
On recruiting players from other areas
“We went out and recruited the players that we thought were good enough to help us win. In some cases they were interested in us and in some cases it was difficult to change their mind. We were changing minds about what they would do, where they were in the process and there wasn’t a lot of time to do it in. Some of the time it goes back to what is important, what a guy is looking for. We are going to recruit everywhere there are football players. Any place around here that has good football players we are going to recruit them. I think some of the work ethic that we put in to this month hopefully will build on relationships for the future. We are going to recruit everywhere that has good football players. The competition is going to be difficult relative to who else is going to try and recruit them.”
On signing Alabama players
“We want to do the best job that we possibly can in recruiting the best players out of the state of Alabama. To get those players, who are good players, quality players who can contribute here was critical to the success of this class. There were other players out there who we would have loved to get as well but we are very satisfied with the guys that we got and those guys topped off this class. It was good to get those guys at the end.”