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Nick Saban’s #1 Export: Florida Men

Florida Man can’t wait to get out of Tuscaloosa.

CFP National Championship - Alabama v Clemson
Florida Man enjoys some Nazareth before football game
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Nick Saban is the most successful and dominant college football coach of this era. He’s about to be on his third offensive coordinator since 2017 began.

Steve Sarkisian was the offensive coordinator for one game, and he lost it. Now he’s an offensive coordinator in the NFL for a Super Bowl team. Lane Kiffin, who was vilified at Tennessee when he left after one year and was fired by USC on an airport tarmac used his three years in Tuscaloosa to get back into the head coaching pool. Kirby Smart was Saban’s right-hand man for eight seasons, building some legendary defenses. He won eight games his first year as a head coach at Georgia in 2016. Other coordinators Nick Saban has had at Alabama:

  • Major Applewhite (now Houston head coach)
  • Kevin Steele (now DC at Auburn after serving in the same role at Clemson and LSU)
  • Jim McElwain (HC at Florida)
  • Doug Nussmeier (OC at Florida)

The popular hand-wringing taek is that “Nick Saban is on his sixth offensive coordinator now!” This is not an unusual amount of turnover for a high-caliber football program, even a dominant dynasty like Alabama. And Saban is entering his eleventh season. This is college football, not the Supreme Court or the Papacy. Kirby Smart served Nick for almost a decade and constantly had his name floated out there for coaching rumors before he took the Georgia gig. The rest of his former coordinators now hold an array of fairly prominent positions. This is fine.

No, what’s striking is that Steve Sarkisian aside, Saban’s last three offensive coordinators have assumed the mantle of Florida Man. They have willingly moved to the State of Florida.

From here on out, every time you see one of these headlines you’ll think it’s possible that it’s Lane Kiffin. We all know about Lane Kiffin. He has a distinct brand and communicates with the world primarily via bitmoji. He has always been Florida Man and this is the culmination of his entire life’s work. He will either flame out at FIU within 24 months or turn them into a perennial playoff dark horse and earn an ACC invite within ten years. Either way, he’ll make headlines in his usual nonchalant dismissive way.

Florida Man Refuses To Wear Socks At Daughter’s Wedding. Jim McElwain is the dad from every eighties movie. Just look at him.

Florida v LSU
Florida Dad Finds Good Deal on Loafers
Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

“Ol’ Luke is at it again. Building a time machine in the basement, hoarding Tab cola while communicating with his nerdy friends via walkie talkie while trying to land a date with the prom queen cheerleader so he can travel back in time and beat up her quarterback boyfriend. Also, Luke Del Rio will start this Saturday.”
[/adjusts reading glasses, resumes perusal of newspaper]

Florida Man Used To Be Michigan Man. Hoo boy. Here’s your Florida Man who’s fleeing the Midwest in the midst of a massive round of layoffs. Another Snowbird, just what you need. Brady Hoke wasn’t the savvy CEO everyone thought he was. And it also turns out that Florida is still really bad at offense. Florida Man gains 250 yards of total offense against Florida Atlantic, still manages to win. This is your Florida Man who just can’t get out of his own way while trying to outsmart himself. Run the dang ball, Florida Man. Unless that’s not working. In that case, just send the offensive line to Waffle House.

How does Saban break this cycle? Just turn the whole damn thing on its head and bring in the most legendary Florida Man of all.

PGA TOUR - 2006 Verizon Heritage Classic - Pro-Am - April 12, 2006
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images