Morning Sports Update

Nick Saban explained how he was ‘influenced dramatically’ working with Bill Belichick

"I learned a lot from him."

Bill Belichick
Bill Belichick during the Patriots-Dolphins matchup in Miami on Oct. 29. AP Photo/Doug Murray

Nick Saban on Bill Belichick: Though it hasn’t been the best season for Bill Belichick, the Patriots coach still has a prominent advocate in the college football world.

Alabama head coach Nick Saban, recently a guest on “The Pat McAfee Show,” spoke up in defense of Belichick when asked why his coaching tree hasn’t exactly flourished (aside from Saban).

“What Bill’s always done a great job of, in my opinion, is he’s always had everybody in the building on the same page,” Saban said. “In other words, they’re all looking for the same things, same type of players. He defines just about everything for you in terms of what the expectation is for every position. We had critical factors for every position where everybody in the building knew what those were. And those are the kinds of players that we were looking for.


“But he had control of that,” Saban added. “Even when I went to Miami, it was hard to get everybody in the building on the same page because there’s a lot of people that were there before. And you can’t just hire whoever you want to hire in the NFL.”

Saban concluded that he didn’t think measuring his success in college is “a good comparison” with the NFL.

Still, having been a defensive coordinator under Belichick during their time with the Browns in the 1990s, the seven-time national champion underscored how much he was influenced by his former boss.

“I do think Bill is one of the best coaches [of] all time from a standpoint of being very well organized, organizes everybody in the organization, has everybody on the same page, and that’s why he’s had a lot of success on a consistent basis for a long time,” Saban said.

“I learned a lot from him,” he explained. “Probably a lot of any success that we’ve had has been influenced dramatically by the time that I spent and the things that I learned from Bill Belichick.”

Trivia: Can you name the four Heisman Trophy winners Nick Saban has coached at Alabama?


(Answer at the bottom).

Hint: One is retired (having played in the NFL for the Saints, Ravens, and Texans), one currently plays for the Titans, another plays for the Eagles, and the fourth plays for the Panthers.

Scores and schedule:

The Bruins defeated the Maple leafs 3-2 in a shootout on Thursday. Boston face the Red Wings in Detroit on Saturday night at 7 p.m.

Also tomorrow, the Celtics will play the Nets in Brooklyn at 8 p.m.

On Sunday, the Patriots host the Commanders at 1 p.m.

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Hockey pup: Here’s some video from the Boston University women’s hockey team having some fun with a puppy.

On this day: In 1961, the Patriots defeated the Dallas Texans 28-21 thanks to a 91-yard run from running back Ron Burton (whose son, Steve, is now a sports anchor for WBZ-TV).

Yet it was the final play of the game that stands out in retrospect. Needing to hold the Texans from scoring, the Patriots got a little help from the crowd (who had gathered around the outskirts of the end zone).

A fan ran onto the field, took position behind the line, and batted down the final pass. It was a perfectly absurd (and illegal) development that somehow was allowed to stand, testament to the wild nature of the early-era American Football League.


“I said, ‘Jeez I wish we could’ve found out who that was,'” a bewildered Texans head coach Hank Stram recalled afterward. “That was the best defensive play we saw all year.”

1961 Patriots Boston Globe Sports

Daily highlight: Troy football’s Chris Lewis made a ridiculous one-handed grab in the 28-10 win over South Alabama.

Trivia answer: Mark Ingram II, Derrick Henry, DeVonta Smith, Bryce Young


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