Nick Saban Confident in Ability of This Year’s Offensive Line
Nick Saban took time after the team's first practice on Thursday to speak with media about how his team looks heading into the 2022 college football season.
The coach opened by talking about the importance of good nutritional and lifestyle habits for the players off the field in order to succeed in practice before moving on to a variety of topics, including one position group that has been at the forefront of fans' minds this offseason: the offensive line.
"I don't think there's any question about the fact that we need to play better on the offensive line. We need to be more physical up front first of all and get moving on the run. We need to be more consistent," said Saban. "I think adding more diversity in the running game would also help, and I think the additions that we made in the offseason is going to be helpful to that."
It didn't take a professional analyst to tell that the offensive line was a huge problem for last year's team. It's part of why Saban referred to 2021 as a "rebuilding year." Bryce Young spent much of the season eluding defenders in the backfield and being flushed out of the pocket before being able to step up and make the throws that propelled Alabama to the national championship and himself to the Heisman.
Saban made short work of addressing these issues. He brought in transfer tackle Tyler Steen from Vanderbilt, and Doug Marrone was replaced by Eric Wolford after being hired by the New Orleans Saints.
Saban seemed to hint at multiple points during the press conference that he wasn't satisfied with Marrone's job coaching last year, which may have led to him departing after just one season.
"We need leadership so that the players actually understand the standard we need them to play to and somebody who is going to not accept the fact that guys aren’t playing that way," said Saban. "I like the coach that we have now and his energy and enthusiasm while he’s teaching the players."
Overall, Saban seemed confident that this year's offensive line will be a far departure from last year's. Fans can only hope that his expectations become reality.