TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Peyton Manning and Denver Broncos' offensive coordinator Adam Gase recently made a visit to Alabama, Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said Thursday.
Saban said the trio swapped ideas and suggestions that were helpful to each party involved. Saban said Manning and Gase "were just making some visits" and that Alabama was on the schedule.
"To be honest with you, he was just trying to learn so he could be a better player," Saban said. "I think a lot of people would say, 'Wow, the guy is one of the best, if not the best, and certainly from a career standpoint probably about as good as anybody's been in the history of the league. After all the experience and knowledge that he has, he's going out and trying to seek more knowledge and understanding of the game of football so he can play better."
Saban said Manning has been a "friend and very well respected for a long time, ever since I coached in the league." Saban coached against Manning while Manning was with the Indianapolis Colts and Saban coached the Miami Dolphins. Saban also said he's been friends with Peyton's father, Archie Manning, for a "long, long, long time." As for Gase, he worked for Saban at Michigan State in the late 1990s and at LSU as a graduate assistant (2000) and a recruiting assistant (2001-02).
Saban said Manning is someone all young players should try to emulate.
"It's a great example for a lot of young people, whether they're playing high school, college, Pop Warner or whatever, and it's something that I have tremendous respect for," Saban said. "I really enjoyed visiting with him."
But Saban received a few tips in return, particularly on how to stop a certain style of offense that has give the Tide trouble in recent year.
"Since they're a no-huddle team, we had a lot of questions for them, in terms of what gives them problems and what defensive teams do that gives them problems," Saban said. "That was kind of a mutual, hopefully beneficial. I know it was a benefit to us. I hope it was a benefit to them as well."
Saban is no stranger to bringing in high-profile coaches during the offseason. Sometimes, others just want to come and learn from him and his staff, Saban said. Other times, Alabama seeks them out.
"The goals that you have for next year are basically the things that you struggled with last year," Saban said. "You make a list of those things through your quality control, and then you go out and look for people who might be able to help you develop a little more expertise, a better way to teach, a better way to coach some situation. Sometimes we bring somebody in here to visit with us. Sometimes we have people call us and ask us if they can come and visit us and try to learn from us, which we share with quite a few people. I think we usually learn from them as well when that happens."