Playing the quarterback position comes with a lot of pressure and, in most cases, a lot of guidance. That guidance could stay with that quarterback longer.
Former High School Quarterback Era and Now Alabama Head coach Nick Saban was asked about his most memorable pass and offered a story about his first coaching advice.
Saban’s first coaching lesson was from Monongah (W.Va.) High School coach Earl Keener.
In his sophomore year, Saban led Mononga against the Masontown Valley. It was the final race of the season. He went 9-1 on both teams, with the winner qualifying for the playoffs.
It was a tough start for Monongah, who trailed 18-0. Saban recalls Keener’s attitude towards the team as they drove through a nearby graveyard to get to the locker room to regroup at halftime.
“Coach Keener would never yell or say anything to correct us,” Saban said.
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Monongah closed the gap to 18-12 with a chance to score down the field. He’s 4th and he’s 12th at his 25-yard line in Masontown. Keener calls the final timeout and Saban runs to the sidelines for the call. Instead, Keener asks Saban which play he thinks should be called.
“I said, ‘Well, I think you should call this play,'” Saban said. I did. Please follow me.”
Keener did not call the play and in fact told “young Nick” what he thought would work.
“He said, ‘I don’t care what play you call,'” Saban said. “We have the fastest man in the state playing left halfback and the number one receiver in the state playing split ends. One of us is Tama.”
Saban proudly returned to the field with his team, faked a pitch to the halfback, and threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to win the game 19–18.
“It wasn’t a great pass, but he caught it,” Saban said.
This article originally appeared in Tuscaloosa News. Alabama Football’s Nick Saban discusses first coaching lesson