Rookie Compares Giants Coach & All-Time Legend

Giants' Xavier McKinney sees similarities between Joe Judge & Nick Saban

Getty Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide

New York Giants‘ Joe Judge may have won the introductory press-conference, however, the first-year head coach no longer appears to be the Belle of the ball that he once was.

This past week’s New York sports headlines have been littered with Judge bashings from Hall of Famers to even ex-Giants players, with one going as far as to claim Judge is “trying to act like Bill Belichick on steroids.”

While rookie safety Xavier McKinney may not agree with that sentiment, he does see parallels between Judge and another future Hall of Famer, Nick Saban.

McKinney Sees a ‘Mirror Version’ of Judge’s & Saban’s Approach

McKinney played three seasons under the watchful eye of Nick Saban during his Alabama days,  and is well aware of what a winning program looks like, evident by his 2017 National Championship. From the sound of it, the second-round draft pick seems to believe the Giants could be in for similar success down the road, as he’s seen vast similarities between Judge and arguably the greatest college football coach of all time.

“When [Judge] discussed some of his rules and how he wanted things to be handled and how we wanted us to be as a team, it was almost like a mirror version of how it was at ’Bama for me,” McKinney said. “As far as that, it was an easy adjustment for me. I have already been in this type of system.”

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Saban a Fan of Both McKinney & Judge

McKinney took the field in Tuscaloosa as a true freshman in 2017 and never looked back. The First-Team All-SEC selection quickly flexed his leadership skills in the ‘Bama secondary, becoming a quarterback of the defense on the backend, as Saban noted back in May.

As he got experience he learned how important it was to communicate. This past year X really took the bull by the horns and was the guy that ran the secondary. Took that responsibility and ran with it and I think that’s an important thing for him at the next level.

Saban’s ties to the Giants go well beyond their new safety, and all the way up the head man in charge. Judge won two National Championship over a three-year run working under Saban at Alabama from 2009 through 2011, leaving a lasting impression on Saban during the process.

When Joe was here, he was a young guy, very bright, enthusiastic, great teacher, really good relationships with the players, had lots of leadership qualities about him because of the example that he set and the energy and the enthusiasm he had on a daily basis, and he was really smart. He had a good understanding of football. So no surprise to me that Joe has gotten to this point in his career, and we certainly wish him well. He did a fantastic job here for us.

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