Nick Saban doesn't understand the fuss about his 'rebuilding' comment
TUSCALOOSA, Ala — A day after referring to last year’s SEC title-winning season, as a “rebuilding year” Nick Saban still isn’t sure why his comment caused such a stir.
“I don’t really understand what’s so hard to understand,” Saban said when asked about the comment during his post-practice press conference Thursday. “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.”
Alabama posted a 13-2 record last season, beating Georgia in the SEC Championship Game to repeat as conference champions before losing to the Bulldogs in the national championship game.
During his initial reference to a “rebuilding year” earlier this week, Saban brought up the fact that Alabama saw six players from its undefeated 2020 unit declare early to the NFL draft. The Crimson Tide equaled an NFL Draft record last year, producing six first-round picks.
“That, in and of itself creates a few more question marks but it also creates an opportunity for other players to be able to shine in the program and be able to contribute in a positive way,” Saban said Wednesday in an appearance on the McElroy and Cubelic in the Morning radio show. “So nobody knows for sure how this stuff is going to come to fruition, but that’s part of the excitement and challenge we have to be able to develop a team.”
Thursday, Saban reiterated that sentiment while stating, “I don’t think our standard is like everybody else’s standard.”
“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,” Saban explained Thursday.
Alabama experienced some more turnover this offseason, producing seven draft picks, including two first-round selections in offensive tackle Evan Neal and receiver Jameson Williams. The Crimson Tide supplemented its roster by bringing in five college transfers in receivers Jermaine Burton (Georga) and Tyler Harrell (Louisville) as well as running back Jahmyr Gibbs (Georgia Tech), offensive tackle Tyler Steen (Vanderbilt) and cornerback Eli Ricks (LSU). Alabama also signed the No. 2 recruiting class, bringing in 25 signees including four five-star prospects in edge rusher Jeremiah Alexander, offensive tackle Elijah Pritchett, receiver Aaron Anderson and linebacker Jihaad Campbell.