Nick Saban shares great story about Bill Belichick's valuable coaching advice


Bill Belichick was born to be a football coach. He learned the game at a young age from his father -- an assistant coach at Navy -- soaked up its nuances as a player through college, then immediately began his NFL coaching career in 1975.

But what was his message to protege Nick Saban as head coach of the Cleveland Browns? Coach less.

Here's Saban, who spent four years as Belichick's defensive coordinator in Cleveland from 1991 to 1994, at an Alabama press conference Thursday explaining a valauble lesson the New England Patriots coach once taught him. (Hat tip to our Tom E. Curran for sharing.)

"Sometimes players are kind of depending on that reinforcement all the time in practice," Saban began. "In a game, there's no coach out there. I coached like that when I was an assistant -- we'd have a scrimmage at the Cleveland Browns, and Belichick would chew my butt out, man. He'd say, 'Let the players play.'

"And I was like, 'Wow. I've never had my butt chewed out before for coaching and teaching.' "

Yet Belichick's message -- that there is such thing as too much coaching, and that players must learn to execute on their own -- apparently stuck with Saban, who since has shared it with his Alabama staff.

"I have to say the same things to our coaches now. Because there's a time when you've just got to let the players play. Because in the game, they've got to know what to do, they've got to know how to do it, they can't depend on somebody else to make a call for them. They can't depend on somebody else to recognize things for them.

"So, we actually do stuff in practice now, when we do team I make the coaches get off the field, make the calls, let the players play."

Belichick's point is a great one, and it's partially why the Patriots coach appears so stoic on the sideline: Sometimes the best lessons are the ones you don't need to vocalize.

Belichick recently was spotted chatting it up with Saban at Alabama's pro day, so perhaps the two reminisced about the story Saban told Thursday.

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