Nick Saban frames 2021 Alabama as ‘rebuilding year’

Alabama lost to UGA in last year's national championship game, despite holding a fourth-quarter lead
Curtis Compton/AJC

Nick Saban has a new narrative about last year’s Alabama team, which lost to UGA in the national championship game.

“Last year, we had kind of a rebuilding year,” Saban said Wednesday on the “McElroy and Cubelic in the Morning” show on WJOX-FM.

Rebuilding year? Really? Last year, Alabama went 12-1, held a commanding fourth-quarter lead over UGA in the title match, and had its quarterback win the Heisman as college football’s best player.

Is this a case of Saban settling for nothing short of perfection? Did he say this to motivate this year’s team – or even offer up these words to ease the pain from the UGA loss? Or is it outright spin by Saban to change the narrative about the last-minute beatdown by the Bulldogs in the national championship game?

One thing is for sure: Saban is a master of playing mind games with both his players and media. Before last year’s semifinals game, Saban had his best player, defensive end Will Anderson, tell reporters that the Crimson Tide felt like “underdogs” – despite the fact that Alabama was a two-touchdown favorite and ended up winning the game easily.

Perhaps the low point of Alabama’s offseason was one month after the national championship loss, when Saban blamed the UGA outcome on his own players, while speaking at an Alabama high school coaches clinic. (The video of Saban’s speech was quickly scrubbed, but the words remain)

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