Nick Saban reveals the one thing Michigan did that fooled them

Nick Saban’s Alabama Crimson Tide lost in a classic against Michigan in the Rose Bowl on Monday to get eliminated from the College Football Playoff. A few days later, Saban revealed the one thing the Wolverines did to fool the Tide in the game.

Saban made his weekly appearance on “The Pat McAfee Show” on Thursday. He discussed what went wrong for Alabama against Michigan during his speech. The head coach of the Crimson Tide admitted that Bama’s offensive line faced difficulties due to Michigan’s defensive line. In addition, Bama’s incapacity to pass protect limited their options for play in the game, forcing them to call more rushing plays.

Saban also mentioned something he felt has gone overlooked – that Michigan’s offense huddled up, which was

utterly unlike anything Alabama had ever known. The use of huddles by Michigan, according to Saban, made it more difficult for Alabama’s defensive coaches to adjust and call defensive plays based on the offensive formations of the Wolverines.

“Chuck (Pagano) would probably agree with me on this one, but one of the things that was a big difference in this game—which nobody ever talks about and is very simple—is that we’re in no-huddle,” Saban remarked. “When you play a no-huddle team and you’re not going fast, which we didn’t go fast enough, then their signal caller is basically making calls to defend the formation and the alignment that you’re in.”

“During the entire season, they were the only team we faced that convened a huddle. You know, every team used to huddle together. Thus, we take on a team that is in a huddle in our opening game of the season,” Saban went on. “So until they emerge from the huddle, you don’t have the advantage of seeing those formations. Thus, you have to make decisions, and in football, that has altered significantly. The straightforward idea of huddle versus no-huddle. However, it has an impact on the game that most players wouldn’t even realize.

The Tide led 20–13 in the fourth quarter despite Alabama’s problems covering quarterback Jalen Milroe, and Michigan was able to tie the game and force overtime. Michigan took the lead in overtime after scoring a touchdown in two plays. Then, in order to win the game, their defense held firm and stopped Milroe on fourth-and-goal.

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