“Detail” is by FAR the best show on ESPN-plus, and the latest episodes with Nick Saban breaking down Tua Tagovailoa and Joe Burrow are an absolute gift.
In the Burrow episode, Saban spends 20 minutes dissecting how LSU and Burrow torched Clemson in the national championship game.
(I’m genuinely impressed ESPN convinced Saban to watch the team that’s beaten him for two national titles against the offense that completely slaughtered his defense to the tune of 46 points and 559 yards. This is like watching your two ex-girlfriends go on a double date with Liam Hemsworth and Nick Jonas. I can only imagine how much money they had to pay Saban to do this).
Either way, this is a gift for fans in so many different ways. If you’re an NFL Draft junkie, this gives you an unprecedented look at the top quarterback in the draft from the greatest college football coach of all time. It’s also a cool peak behind the curtain at Joe Brady’s offense, which he’s bringing to the Carolina Panthers next season. You can start to see how Brady will use weapons like Christian McCaffrey, DJ Moore and Curtis Samuel in 2020.
LSU was dominant next season for plenty of reasons, but their ability to manipulate the defense before the snap with different formations and motions was chief among them. One of the common themes throughout the breakdown was Saban illustrating LSU’s ability to get Clemson’s defense to “declare itself” before the snap, which helped Joe Burrow slice up Brent Venables’ vaunted group for 463 passing yards and five touchdowns.
One of my favorite parts of the breakdown is seeing how LSU would use seven-man protections, where the running back and tight end become check-down options at the end of the progression.
Saban ends the show by saying, “I think Joe Burrow has great vision; does a good job with pre-snap reads, he can also extend plays and scramble to throw. Joe Burrow is going to have a fantastic career in the NFL.”
As for Tua, Saban gives a meticulous look at how Alabama used RPO’s to engineer one of the most explosive offenses in college football history.
Tua broke the NCAA record for passer rating in 2018 (only for Burrow to break it a year later) largely because of his ability to execute the RPO game to perfection. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have as many as three or four future first-round picks playing wide receiver at the same time.
If it weren’t for Tua’s health concerns, his race with Burrow for the No. 1 pick in the draft would be one of the best draft debates ever. It’s funny, because some of the best debates — Manning vs Leaf, Goff vs Wentz, Winston vs Mariota — should never have been debates at all. There’s a pretty good chance that only one of Burrow or Tagovailoa turns out to be a franchise quarterback.
Either way, with the draft less than two weeks away, there’s no better way to get a feel for who these two players are than from inside the mind of the guy who coached with or against them both.
Who do you think will have the better NFL career?