After practice Head Coach Nick Saban held a press conference where at times was chaotic, especially regarding his comments about the 2021 season being a “rebuilding year” for the Tide. Saban as well did not hesitate to get right into the juice of the practice’s details.
Saban Critiques Day One Performance
“We need to be more physical up front, first of all, and get movement on the run,” Saban said. “Getting more consistent and I think having more diversity in the running game would also help. I think the additions we made in the offseason is going to be helpful to that.”
Saban would be referring to the five players they received in the offseason through the transfer portal. These include wide receiver Tyler Harrell from Louisville, offensive tackle Tyler Steen from Vanderbilt, wide receiver Jermaine Burton from Georgia, running back Jahmyr Gibbs from Georgia Tech and cornerback Eli Ricks from Louisiana State University. Each of these transfers is currently projected to start for the Tide this year.
“I think, overall, we just have to have a different mentality up front in terms of the intangibles that we play with: the toughness, the effort. The offensive line is a place where that gets established on your team.”
According to Sports Illustrated, the projected starting offensive line will only feature one player under the junior classification. This means the experience level will be in abundance for their offensive line during the 2022 campaign. It is also not uncommon for Saban to focus on the fundamentals of his players making sure internal factors can be under control as much as possible. Unfortunately, Saban also stated that starting tight end, Cameron Latu was injured and would miss some of the fall camp but it wasn’t anything serious as of now.
The Head Coach Versus The Head Talk Show Host
One of Saban’s biggest critics, yet also one of his fondest supporters in Paul Finebaum had much to say about Saban’s rebuilding year comments during his show. Although they’ve been known from time to time to have disagreements, they are both on relatively good terms as even Finebaum has admitted in July of 2022 that Saban helped save his career years ago.
“This is very predictable,” Finebaum stated on his well-renowned show. “Whenever he loses a game, like a National Championship game, here comes the excuse!”
Finebaum has a point, yet Saban’s response to this reinforces his argument that 2021 was indeed a rebuilding season for Alabama. What occurred after Saban was asked about it turned into another tirade about dumb questions he’s become famous for calling out.
“I don’t really understand what’s so hard to understand,” Saban responded in the press conference about the 2021 team. “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. Six guys went out for the draft, so as we usually have to do, we have lots of rebuilding to do this season. So that’s the point I’m trying to make.”
Whether Saban or Finebaum was right, ignores the reality of Saban’s comments altogether. Any year where Alabama has retained a majority of starters on the roster from the previous season, it has become a nightmare for other teams. Of the players who started in the national championship loss against Georgia, 12 will be back on the roster this season. This does not include several transfers that started on their respective teams last season.
As fall camp continues through the month leading up to the first game, there will be more information regarding the team’s activities soon.