Nick Saban is the current college coach NFL players would most like to see in the NFL, according to a midseason poll conducted by the Sporting News.
Saban received 32 out of a possible 103 votes in the Sporting News' poll, which phrased the question thusly: "Which big-time college coach would you like to see in the NFL?"
Two current Chicago Bears players were effusive in their praise for Saban.
"I just know from playing against him that he always had his team prepared mentally and sharp," said safety Major Wright, who played at Florida. "They don't make mental mistakes and that's the biggest part of the game. In the NFL, you can't make mental mistakes; it beats you."
"Winning two of the last three titles, he's doing a phenomenal job," said wide receiver Earl Bennett, who played at Vanderbilt. "He's a coach that obviously the kids love playing for, and they respect him. I think it would translate to the NFL."
Saban has tried his hand at the NFL before. He left LSU following the 2004 season to lead the Miami Dolphins, and went 15-17 over two seasons before returning to the college game with Alabama.
The only four FBS coaches to receive double-digit votes were Saban, Ohio State's Urban Meyer (16 votes), LSU's Les Miles (11) and Oregon's Chip Kelly (11).
It's not surprising that Kelly, who has led Oregon to back-to-back Pac-12 titles (and is on the road to a third in a row), is on the NFL's wish list.
On Oct. 24, NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah quoted an NFL executive as saying of Kelly, ""He runs the best practices I've ever seen. I would hire him in a second if I ever had the opportunity." It's true: Oregon's practices are a sight to behold.
On Nov. 1, Stewart Mandel of Sports Illustrated wrote that Kelly's "not just on the NFL's radar; he's suddenly the hottest name in the business."
Another eight FBS coaches received multiple votes: Oklahoma's Bob Stoops with five, Iowa's Kirk Ferentz and Notre Dame's Brian Kelly with three, and Virginia Tech's Frank Beamer, Texas' Mack Brown, Florida's Will Muschamp, Stanford's David Shaw and South Carolina's Steve Spurrier with two. Another seven college coaches received a single vote.
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