Most college football teams would take the season Alabama football had in 2021.
Alabama reached the College Football Playoff championship game, after all. Yet coach Nick Saban views the season as a rebuild.
“Last year, we had kind of a rebuilding year,” Saban said on the WJOX’s Mac and Cube show Wednesday. “We should have nine starters back on offense, nine on defense but (seven) guys go out early for the draft so now we have five back on offense and seven back on defense. So that in and of itself creates a few more question marks but it also creates opportunities for other players to be able to shine in the program and contribute in a positive way.”
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The Crimson Tide finished 2021 with a 13-2 record with a loss to Texas A&M in the regular season and Georgia in the national championship game. But the Crimson Tide managed to win the SEC with a dominant SEC Championship Game win over the Bulldogs.
Although Alabama had seven players selected in the 2022 NFL Draft, it didn’t reach the number of 10 picks from the season before after the Crimson Tide went undefeated and won the national championship. Six of those players were first-round picks. That tied a record for most first-round picks from one program.
There is always turnover at Alabama considering Saban’s success in getting players drafted, but the 2021 class might have been among the most difficult to replace because of the quality of that group.
So, by Alabama standards, 2021 might have been more of a rebuild considering the talent the Crimson Tide lost. And yet Alabama still played in the last game of the year.
This article originally appeared on The Tuscaloosa News: Here’s why Nick Saban said Alabama football had a rebuilding year in 2021