I’m with Nick Saban here (I usually am, by the way).
What’s the big deal about him saying that 2021 was a rebuilding year for Alabama? It WAS a rebuilding year.
Yet the media is going crazy, basically calling Saban crazy for saying that about a team that went 12-2, won the SEC and played for the National Championship. It beat – routed, actually – the team that won the title.
So the results don’t indicate it being a rebuilding year but look at the facts: the team had six players, five on offense, get drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft. It lost a Heisman Trophy winner and another finalist, its top running back and most of the offensive line. It was a young team with a new quarterback.
It showed, too. The team struggled the entire season. It escaped Florida in the Swamp 31-29, lost to a “where did THAT team come from” Texas A&M in College Station, barely beat LSU 20-14, could never pull away from Arkansas in a 42-35 win and it took a last-minute drive-for-the-ages performance to beat Auburn.
Now granted, a rebuilding year at Alabama under Saban is not like it is at other schools. Competing for a National Championship is the standard. Still, not any reasonable Alabama fan felt that was in reach last season so all that did happen was a bonus.
Then add in the injuries. A hotshot freshman receiver, who was being worked into the rotation, JoJo Earle, was lost for the year early in the season on a punt return. The returning running back who became the starter, Brian Robinson, was hobbled. Then two backup running backs both went down with season-ending injuries; one, Jase McClellan, was a bull against Florida until he went down with a knee injury. The only remaining backup, Trey Sanders, was still tender from a near career-ending car wreck the previous year.
Later, John Metche was lost to a knee injury in the SEC Championship and in the National Championship, ace receiver Jameson Williamson, went down with a knee injury. Two defensive backs were out, as well. Still, the Tide was driving for the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter and probably would have taken the lead had Jahleel Billingsley not stumbled on a play that likely would have resulted in a touchdown.
So not only was 2021 a rebuilding year for Alabama it was a reconstructing year throughout the season. And instead of criticizing Saban people should be applauding him for his coaching that year and for holding the team together so it could win the league and get to the national title game.