Nick Saban: 'Need to play faster'

Updated: September 28, 2013, 10:43 AM ET
By Chris Low | ESPN.com

Alabama Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban hasn't been a fan of the hurry-up, no-huddle offense, but that doesn't mean he won't eventually give it a try.

"It's something we're going to look at. I think we'll have to," Saban told ESPN.com on Thursday. "I think we need to play faster and will have to do more of that going forward. The only reason we haven't done more of it to this point is that our guys seem to play better when we don't [go fast] just because it's been our style and we've had reasonably good success moving the ball and running the ball.

[+] EnlargeNick Saban
Kevin C. Cox/Getty ImagesNick Saban isn't a fan of the hurry-up offense because it takes defensive coaches out of the game. "All you're trying to do is get lined up [on defense]," Saban said. "... The offense kind of knows what you're doing."

"The thing I wonder about is that if you play offense like that, then that's how you practice. You have to practice like that, so how do you really ever coach defensive players? If a guy doesn't play the right technique, you're going up and telling him and showing him how to play that block or whatever.

"But, hell, they're running another play."

Within five years, Saban said 80 or 90 percent of the teams in college football will be running some version of a no-huddle, hurry-up offense.

"Unless they do something to slow them down, which they should, we'll probably be doing the same thing," he said.

Saban hasn't been a fan because it's advantageous to the offense by taking the defensive coaches out of the game.

"All you're trying to do is get lined up [on defense]," Saban said. "You can't play specialty third-down stuff. You can't hardly scheme anything. The most important thing is to get the call so the guys can get lined up, and it's got to be a simple call. The offense kind of knows what you're doing."

Alabama's opponent Saturday -- No. 21 Ole Miss -- runs an up-tempo style of offense.

The Crimson Tide have been underwhelming on offense this season, averaging 132 yards rushing -- almost 100 yards fewer per game than 2012. Bama's rushes for zero or negative yards have risen from 16.0 percent in 2012 to 28.1 percent in 2013, from third nationally to 105th.

In addition, the Crimson Tide have had trouble converting on third down, moving the sticks once every three attempts, on average, ranking 98th nationally and next to last in the SEC.

However, in Alabama's biggest game of the year, against Texas A&M, the Tide reeled off 35 unanswered points and finished the game with 568 total yards in a 49-42 victory.

Alabama has won nine straight against Ole Miss, which hasn't won in Tuscaloosa since 1988, going 0-11 there since.

Alex Scarborough of ESPN.com contributed to this report.

Chris Low | email

College Football

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