Nick Saban Hits Back at Criticisms of Alabama Not Meeting Standard

Getty Alabama head coach Nick Saban

Nobody would call the 2022 season a great one for Alabama, despite owning a +210 point differential through nine games and being outscored in both of their losses by a combined 4 points. Nick Saban understands it hasn’t been an ideal run for his team but isn’t going to let the narrative get out of hand.

During a November 9 SEC teleconference, Saban addressed recent comments made by his 2009 starting quarterback, Greg McElroy, who spoke out about his worries for the program moving forward.

“We work every day to try to play to a standard, and we’ve had a lot of good teams around here for a long time‚” Saban said, per’s Mike Rodak. “We lost two games by a total of four points, both on the last play of the game. Are there a lot of things we could do better? Are we satisfied with where we are as a team? Absolutely not.”

Saban questioned whether the “Alabama standard” narrative is healthy for the program.

“But at the same time, sometimes when the standard is so high, there may be some occasion where you don’t quite meet the standard and the expectation that everybody has for you,” he said. “I do think that standard and expectation has not been something that has helped this team focus on the right things.

“Stay focused on the process, not get so concerned about the results you get but what you’ve got to do to get the results. That’s something we’ve been trying to emphasize with them,” Saban said.

What Greg McElroy Said About Alabama’s Direction

Greg McElroy, the starting quarterback during the Crimson Tide’s 2009 championship season, shared on ESPN’s “Always College Football” podcast his fears for the direction of the program moving forward.

“This is the first time that I have ever actually been concerned about the future of the program,” McElroy said on the November 8 episode. “The first time. I have seen them lose when people have said, ‘The dynasty is over.’ I have seen people back in 2014 say this team will never regain its prowess or its strength. I have seen coach after coach after coach depart for what they might consider to be greener pastures. I’ve seen everything that this program has endured in the last several years, and I have never been concerned about whether or not they’ve been better tomorrow than they were today.

“I’ve always thought regardless of where the program was at, that as long as Nick Saban was there, they’re going to be just fine,” McElroy said.

Nick Saban on Lane Kiffin’s Use of the Transfer Portal

When Alabama takes on Ole Miss in Oxford on November 12, it’ll be a duel between two coaches who have mastered the transfer portal. Nick Saban complimented Ole Miss’ Lane Kiffin, his offensive coordinator from 2014 to 2016, noting that the transfer portal is college football’s spin on free agency.

“I think it creates a lot of parity relative to how fast you can rebuild a team,” Saban said during his November 9 press conference. “I think you could go through all the teams that we play, and they have significant players that have come in from the transfer portal. And Ole Miss certainly has significant players.”

He explain how LSU, which beat Alabama on November 5, used the same strategy.

“LSU had significant players last week that made their team better,” Saban said. “It’s almost like can you only build your team in the draft, or is there such a thing as free agency now in college football? For years, NFL teams used both of those things to help build their teams, and I think some [college] teams are doing that. Some teams probably need to do it more than others.”