Nick Saban: SEC, Big 12 fairly similar

Anniston StarDecember 31, 2013 

NEW ORLEANS -- A lot has been made about the contrasting styles of SEC and Big 12 offenses, but Alabama coach Nick Saban doesn't see many differences.

Saban feels the leagues are more similar than people think, especially from the Oklahoma perspective.

"I think that football is basically football," Saban said during his Tuesday availability. "If you look at Oklahoma, they've made their living this year really being able to run the ball effectively. … That's pretty good rushing football. If you look at a conference that's supposed to be a spread, spread you out, throw it all over the place, kind of loose play kind of conference, I think they have the ability to do that because they have really good skill guys and their quarterbacks are capable.

But, they've been most effective when they've been able to throw the ball against people."

Saban said it still comes down to the basics no matter which offense the Tide is facing.

"You still have to stop the run. You still have to get off the field on third down. You still have to affect the quarterback in the game," Saban said. "I don't really see the differences in the conferences. Maybe if you look at the conferences as a whole, maybe there is a little bit more sort of wide open kind of spread type, what people refer to as spread type football in their league than there is in ours. But our league is getting more and more like that as well."

Starter at right guard

If today was any indication, Leon Brown will start at right guard in the Sugar Bowl on Thursday. Brown worked with the first offensive line group during Tuesday's practice. The Tide usually sets its lineup two days before a game.

"Leon's been playing great," right tackle Austin Shepherd said. " … He'll be a little bit nervous at first, because it'll be his first start, but once the first play is over with you kind of zone everything out. So I think he'll be fine. He'll have two people around him who have started in me and Ryan so we'll be able to calm him down if anything happens, so that'll be good."

Center Ryan Kelly said Brown's versatility will help him in this situation.

"I think he's played left tackle, right tackle, now guard so I mean, he's a big versatile guy," Kelly said. "You know, he's actually learned the offense pretty quick. He's not been here very long. He's been good to play next to, you know, him, and we've been rotating a couple guys in there, and I think the stability of the previous offensive line when another guy comes in there, it kind of just molds."

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