The Monday following an Alabama game traditionally sees fans surfing for insightful columns, advanced stats and other commentary propping up their beloved Crimson Tide.
But in 2018, one newcomer redirected the Bama faithful to YouTube for brutally honest film breakdowns coupled with signature catchphrases like “Bow!,” “Medic!” and “Speed, speed, speed, speed, speed!”
With an undefeated regular season and another SEC championship out of the way, you might have heard about John Doe, or as he puts it “It’s Coach P, aka John Doe, aka one half of the Unofficial Assistant Coaches.”
The anonymous Alabama superfan has earned a substantial online following along with a reputation as one of college football’s best new analysts who earns tens of thousands of YouTube views each week as he breaks down the Tide’s latest performance.
Doe hit the YouTube scene in September 2017 when he shared a 27-minute video comparing quarterback skills of Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa, making the case for Tua as the clear starter for the Tide moving forward.
He returned prior to the 2018 season with another breakdown of the QBs, with the video scoring more than 100,000 views and topped that off with another earning a similar number. His videos have even drawn references from national sports outlets like ESPN and Fox Sports 1, plus the occasional tweet from Alabama players.
Man[?] [?] [?] [?] https://t.co/4iFwuwDJMw
— Irvin Smith Jr. (@swervinirvin_) November 19, 2018
Doe brings a hilarious intensity, starting calmly and then bursting with energy to emphasize his points, along with his own flare for aforementioned catchphrases and nicknames like “Jerry ‘Usain’ Jeudy!,” “Perfect product placement!,” “Window! Somebody get some Windex!” and his weekly pearl of wisdom “It’s just chess, not checkers.”
He even works in occasional segments like “Mama There Goes My Ankles,” during which he points out an impressive juke move by a Bama player that caused an opponent (often more than one) to change direction or fall over. Players do not want to be on the receiving end of this bit.
But it’s Doe’s pinpoint analysis that rises above the rest of it, outlining to viewers why certain plays work and others don’t and what makes Tagovailoa such a special quarterback.
We had a rare opportunity to speak on the phone with John Doe, who asked to retain his anonymity during the conversation. We talked about his sports background, his unique passion, his everlasting trust in Nick Saban, how his love for Bama got him out of a ticket once and why he chooses to keep his name to himself.
Read the conversation below:
How do you know football? It’s clear you either played or you’ve been around the game since a very young age. How were you introduced to the game?
John Doe: I started off real young in football. Down south, football is a part of life. Whether you’re playing full team or just at the park, we just learn football down here. It’s a way of life. I ended up being more of a basketball player, but at the same time, my love was always football, especially since the ’92 [Alabama football] championship. I was a David Palmer fanatic. Just watching him and breaking down film, getting more details — and when Nick got here — just learning so much of it and getting into it that it just takes over you. That’s how I really got into breaking down the plays. With the winning culture down here so fascinating right now, you just get involved. It’s hard not to. Even if I wasn’t into doing what I’m doing now, it’s hard to dodge doing it. I just had the resources to do what I’m doing. It’s so powerful down here.
Where does the passion come from? Do you bring this level of intensity to everything else in your life, or just Alabama football?
JD: I’m a pretty quiet person in life. But when we get to talking about Alabama football, it can go left. A lot of times, people just talk with biased opinions, and that’s when I came with the fact over fiction. I made a rule in life, I don’t talk football with just anybody. It was way before ‘John Doe,’ because I know so much, and you’re just talking about your personal things you think are relevant. And it can just go left field.
You’ve talked about how Nick Saban isn’t going to be around forever, and you’ve used the phrase “In Saban I trust.” Fans get caught up in speculation, thinking we know better because of the limited action we’ve seen, while Saban obviously knows more than we ever well about what’s going on. Why should other Alabama fans use that thinking, that they should trust Saban no matter what?
JD: That’s just a few fans. For the majority, the proof is in the pudding. We all, to an extent, feel the same way. When things go wrong, everyone’s going to come out and say this and that. Even if you’re a nobody, you can still get on here and make a name for yourself with a silly statement if you’re an Alabama fan. As a whole, we all roll with Saban. People forget how it was before he got here. It was bad. We couldn’t get this level of success. Everybody pretty much believes in him. It’s just the fact that it’s easy to get your voice magnified down here as opposed to other schools. Saban can run for any office in Alabama, and we ain’t got to vote. Whatever office he wants, he can just go get it with no political background in Alabama.
What about the attention you’ve gotten this season? You’re making videos every week. You have a social media following, and ESPN and Fox Sports giving you shoutouts. What has that been like for you? Is it a big surprise, or do you feel like it’s something you’ve been building towards?
JD: Nah, I wasn’t building toward it. I am the ultimate fan. When we get to talking about Alabama, we can talk forever. I remember I got pulled over by an officer in Birmingham one time, and he saw I had on an Alabama jacket, and we got to talking about Bama real quick. The ticket I probably would have gotten right there was voided because I knew about Trent Richardson coming in. I’m telling him about it, and the next thing you know I’m out of that ticket. I feel I’m the number one fan of Alabama football, and a lot of people feel that way. I’m pretty much quiet in life until we get to talking about Bama football. It just goes to another level. Now a lot of people are getting a grip of what people in my life already see. When they see my man cave or my house, it’s so full of Bama stuff they used to call me crazy. I talk, act and do so much about Bama, so now that I’m benefiting from it, it doesn’t surprise me. I’m actually glad because before this, I probably would have been known as crazy. But now it all makes sense, so I’m cool with it.
What are your long-term goals? Do you want to be in media? Or is coaching something you want to do?
JD: I’m just enjoying the new culture we have going from the best to the best times two. Right now I’m just enjoying that. Anything else about John Doe in the future, I’m not really focused on that. I’m just really focused on the Tide bringing in these championships and seeing my young man Tua getting these back-to-back Heismans. I’m more focused on that right now. My page isn’t monetized. Right now we’re just enjoying this culture and trying to make sure everybody realizes this isn’t an every year thing. This is something people need to pay attention to. This is a special time. We’re just enjoying this wave that we’re on.
Do you think Tua’s got the Heisman locked up, or do you think this week will tell the tale?
JD: I mean, personally, I feel he’s got it locked up. But so many people have got their hands in deciding that. Just like I felt [Michael] Jordan won MVP every year he was in the league, but guess what, you get tired of voting for the same person every year. If Charles Barkley had 30 points this year, let’s give it to Charles this year, but really Jordan was the MVP every year. That’s how it was right now with Bama. You get tired of voting Bama for everything. If Tua played some of these guys like Kyler Murray’s schedule, he wouldn’t even play the second half. When they try to base all that stuff on numbers and stats as opposed to an eye test..It’s obvious, and no bias. I feel Tua’s got it all day. I really feel like he’s got back-to-back. It’s just warming up. The best year of all time ain’t this year. They’re just warming up. This is Tua’s first year starting. When they become juniors next year, I think that’s going to be one of the best college football teams of all time. These guys are still young and growing. But that’s just a little rat poison, and I specialize in it.
A healthy Tua is a different animal. To have that type of accuracy, you’ve got Drew Brees and Tim Tebow in one body. And like I said, the guy is still growing and learning. Heisman ain’t enough. He needs to get some presidential votes, too. Tua for president. He’s got my vote.
So why do you want to remain anonymous? Is it just about having the freedom to say whatever want to as a fan?
JD: [Laughs] We’ve got that explanation coming up in a video coming out. I never sought out to be anonymous. The first video you guys saw, that wasn’t for everyone. That was for a group of Alabama guys I talk to. I put it on YouTube under a private account. I was so mad about the play on the field, I made it un-private to where people could see it. That was before we lost to Auburn [in 2017]. I had already predicted it. When I made the video open, it just started spreading. The John Doe mystique started making a name for itself. But those first videos weren’t for everybody. That’s how the John Doe situation started.