Alabama draft prospect says he saw 'changes' in Nick Saban before retirement

Dallas Turner said he noticed some changes in Nick Saban the year before he decided to retire.

Nick Saban, Alabama Crimson Tide
Nick Saban, Alabama Crimson Tide / Michael Chang/GettyImages

While Nick Saban finally gets to enjoy retirement, Dallas Turner is getting ready for what comes next. Turner is projected to be one of the first defensive players taken in the upcoming 2024 NFL Draft. He starred collegiately at Alabama playing for Saban. Although the Crimson Tide did not win a national title while he was in school, Turner did very well for himself in college. He could be an NFL superstar.

However, it seems as though Turner kind of knew that last year was Saban's final season leading the Crimson Tide mid-campaign. As a savvy defensive playmaker, you become adept at reading body language as way to pick up on certain players' tendencies. Turner claims to have recognized a few subtle differences in the way Saban conducted himself that led him to believe that he was retiring.

Here is what Turner had to say about all that during the NFL Scouting Combine up in Indianapolis.

"From how he was my freshman to my junior year, I kind of seen a lot of changes and stuff like that. I wasn't surprised. But how it went about, I was kind of surprised. He probably would crack a lot more jokes and stuff like that. It started to be more player-led. It was always since he's been there, but you could tell the players really had a lot of say and he was a lot more open to a lot more ideas and what the players had to say and stuff. But it was all good though."

Saban was very regimented during his coaching career, but you can really tell he enjoyed last season.

"He was still the same Coach Saban on the field, of course, but you could tell the slight changes."

Turner projects to be one of the first, if not the first, Alabama players taken in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Dallas Turner picked up on Nick Saban possibly retiring very early on

While being an assistant coach under Saban can be taxing, his players loved playing for him. Saban always found a way to relate to his guys, and never took shortcuts when it came to preparation, getting to know all of his guys, and above all else, recruitment. It is why so many of his players from his earliest Alabama teams in the late aughts, up until his latest in the early 20s played so hard for him.

We are still only a few weeks removed from Saban calling it a career, aight. Yet, it feels so very strange that he will not be leading a college football powerhouse out of the tunnel next season. The greatest of all time is stepping aside to enjoy retirement, while also getting to still be a part of it as a college football analyst for ESPN as a part of College GameDay. It is great that he can continue to give back.

Even if his last national championship came in a weird COVID season, so what? We all knew we were watching greatness in real time. From his second year at Alabama in 2008, to his final year at the helm of the Crimson Tide from 2023, we may never see another dynastic run quite like this. We are talking about six national championship wins, as well as many more College Football Playoff appearances.

Turner did not won it all playing for Saban, but he will carry with him the lessons learned forever.

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