Saban Doubles Down on “Rebuilding Year” Comments
Nick Saban spoke to the media immediately following the conclusion of the Crimson Tide's first day of fall practice and offered comments on a variety of topics. The ones that will likely gain the most national attention were the legendary coach firmly doubling down on his comments made on WJOX 94.5's McElroy and Cubelic In the Morning show that 2021 was a "rebuilding year."
"I don’t understand what’s so hard to understand. The point being, we were young and we should have nine starters back on offense and nine starters back on defense. That’s the point I was trying to make," said Saban today. "Six guys went out for the draft, so as we usually have to do, we have lots of rebuilding to do again this season."
The coach is not wrong that Alabama lost a lot more starters than usual from its 2020 team heading into 2021. The 2021 quad was much younger and less experienced than Saban is used to working with, and it showed at multiple points throughout the season.
The team struggled mightily against an inferior Florida Gators squad, was in a one possession game with Tennessee until the final minutes of the fourth quarter, was taken to 4OT by a 6-7 Auburn squad, and lost to the 8-4 Texas A&M Aggies, marking Saban's first ever loss to a former pupil.
"I don’t think our standard is like everybody else’s standard, but when you have a lot of young players playing, you’re actually trying to rebuild so those guys get the kind of experience you need so they can play at the level you need them to play at, so you can play to the standard you want to play to," said Saban.
The experience those young players got last season is a lot of why this Alabama squad is so feared by other fanbases heading into the 2022 season. Not only do they return a majority of their starters, they lost in the College Football Playoff National Championship game and are seeking vengeance.
So, Paul Finebaum and others can moan and whine all they want about whether or not the coach's comments were asinine. Saban meant what he said and he isn't backing down.