The Norman Transcript

Sports

January 2, 2014

Maybe Sooners can multiply Saban’s adversity

NEW ORLEANS — Coaches reveal themselves in so many different ways, and frequently not in the ways they intend.

Like, every time Bob Stoops would rather talk about the small picture than the big, about the fine points of execution rather than the topsy-turvy sweeping narrative that’s been his season, he may think he’s telling us a football truth, that it’s all in the details, when in fact he’s telling us a personal truth.

He’s telling us how he relates to the game, how he approaches things as a coach, how he works it. And when you think about it, it reflects Bill Snyder more than anybody else: 

The dogged pursuit of detail will set you free, though Stoops may pull it off more efficiently than his mentor. 

It’s an approach that has paid big dividends, for certain, but it does not reveal a football truth. Just take a look at Texas. There’s a program with big picture problems, reminding us that when something goes bad, it can really go bad.

Now take a gander at the man on the other sideline of tonight’s Sugar Bowl contest between Oklahoma and Alabama, Nick Saban.

He’s almost not human. 

Frightfully controlled, running himself like a ship so tight, he had to refer to notes in his opening statement at Wednesday’s final pre-game press conference. 

Apparently, he was unable to express how rich Alabama’s Big Easy experience had been without being reminded where he was and who he had to thank, like there’s no room in his brain for anything but information helpful to beating OU. 

It made you wonder, Wednesday morning, had he been asked, if Saban could even have accurately offered up his kids’ birthdays and ages.

And, for a guy, offering so much control, you still had to wonder if he should be taken seriously even when talking football. Or, was it all misdirection.

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