What Alabama football coach Nick Saban has learned from Coach K and watching basketball

Bennett Durando
The Tuscaloosa News

DALLAS — Nick Saban is fascinated by the evolution of tactics across sports. It's why basketball compels the Alabama football coach, who joked Wednesday that "if I was a little taller, I'd probably have liked to be a basketball player, not football player."

On his radio show in Dallas while previewing the College Football Playoff, Saban said he learns from watching Alabama basketball coach Nate Oats, as well as Duke's Mike Krzyzewski.

"It's amazing how the game has changed in the style that we play, shooting threes and shooting layups and the analytics of a 3-point shot being more valuable than trying to get a really good 15-foot shot," Saban said. "So it's kind of interesting to see how those things evolve. Football has evolved the same way. No-huddle, spread, RPO. All these things didn't exist 10 to 12 years ago. You've got to adapt with them, and it's always a challenge in terms of, 'How do you do that?'"

Saban discussed how he still tries to learn from how coaches approach their various sports.

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"You're always looking for a better way. I think that's something that's really, really important for all coaches, all teachers and people out there who have to try to help young people," Saban said. "I'm constantly reading books, and I love talking to Coach K. I get on his radio show and ask him more questions then he asks me."

Alabama (12-1) faces Cincinnati (13-0) on Friday in the Cotton Bowl on Friday (2:30 p.m., ESPN) at AT&T Stadium. The winner advances to the College Football Playoff National Championship Game.