America doesn’t need its best college players left in a puddle of tears caused by its best college coach.
On Wednesday morning, I asked Coach Saban himself if he was aware that he left Diggs’ crying.
Saban didn’t address the tears, most likely because Diggs didn’t share those with his former head coach.
“I don’t make guys move positions. It was his final decision to do it,” Saban said on the SEC coaches’ conference call. “I said, ‘Look, you have a better future as a defensive back.’”
There are two reasons why Diggs agreed to the move.
1.) What Alabama player is going to tell Nick Saban, Coach, after careful consideration I’m not going to do what you advise. I appreciate your input and advice, and we’ll see you at practice.
2.) Saban was right.
Saban didn’t exactly sound “chipper” (he doesn’t after winning the national title) on Wednesday morning, but the subject of talking about one of his former players doing well in the NFL is a better topic than, say, having to respond to questions about losing to unranked Texas A&M.
A second-round draft pick by the Dallas Cowboys in 2020, so far Trevon Diggs is the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year.
He’s intercepting passes in a way that few people in his position ever have. He has six interceptions in five games this season, and nine in his first 17 NFL games.
Why opposing quarterbacks throw passes anywhere near Diggs is a mystery. But quarterbacks are people, and people sometimes do dumb things.
Pitchers used to pitch to Barry Bonds.
The funny part is that when Trevon started his career at ’Bama under Saban he was there to be another top Tide receiver, like Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley or Amari Cooper.
As a freshman at Alabama, Diggs was a backup wide receiver who played on special teams, and a part-time defensive player.
After his freshman year, Saban told him he thought he might want to consider moving positions.
A “might want to consider” from Nick Saban feels more like a, “This is what we’re doing.”
On Sunday after the Cowboys’ win over the New York Giants, Diggs told the story of how he broke down.
Diggs told his older brother, Buffalo Bills receiver Stefon Diggs, who didn’t suffer the tears. Big brother’s message to little brother was to quit crying and to get playing.
In Trevon Diggs, Saban saw a solid offensive player, but potentially an elite defensive talent.
“First off, he was a good receiver,” Saban said. “I think a lot of times guys have a vision of what they’d like to be.
“He had great ball skills, really great hands, long, very athletic. I just thought the guy would be a really good corner, and I thought there would be more value for his future if he was a corner.
“Whether it was Corey Webster at LSU, Trevon Diggs or Cyrus Jones, those are all guys that we’ve moved from receiver to corner who ended up playing in the NFL. It certainly worked out for [Diggs], and I’m really proud of the way he’s playing.”
Maybe Saban was unaware that his suggestion had Diggs’ crying to his big brother, but he was right that while Trevon may have been a good receiver, he had a better future at corner.
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