Despite winning the SEC and playing for the national title, last season was a ‘rebuilding year,’ according to Alabama’s Nick Saban.

Despite winning the SEC and playing for the national title, last season was a ‘rebuilding year,’ according to Alabama’s Nick Saban.

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Despite winning the SEC, beating Cincinnati in the Cotton Bowl and competing in the College Football Playoff national championship game, Alabama coach Nick Saban looked back on last season Wednesday and called it a “rebuilding year.”

Even so, Alabama had to replace several starters last season — including a quarterback drafted in the first round. Mc Jones And the Heisman Trophy winning receiver in the Devonta Smith — did not make it into production.

Brice Young He took over for Jones and won the Heisman in his first season as a starter. Meanwhile, Ohio State transfer Jameson Williams He stepped in at receiver, caught 15 touchdowns and was named a first-team All-American.

Young returned for his rookie season, but left after Williams was drafted in the first round by the Detroit Lions.

Appearing on WJOX in Birmingham, Saban said they had to return nine starters on both offense and defense, but six players turned pro early, creating “question marks.”

“But it creates an opportunity for other players to shine through the program and contribute in a positive way,” Saban said. “So no one knows for sure how this is going to play out, but it’s an exciting and challenging part of being able to build this team.”

Alabama welcomes back the outside linebacker Will Anderson JrHe could be a top pick in next year’s draft. He led the nation in sacks and tackles for a loss last season.

The Crimson Tide, the media favorites to win the SEC this season, opened fall camp Thursday. It opens the season on Sept. 3 at home against Utah State.

From a bigger perspective, Saban told WJOX he’s looking to see if his team has the leadership and “competitive nature” it needs.

“All of those things are very important to developing into the team that you can be,” Saban said.

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