Nick Saban Says Alabama Team Didn't Test His Patience Because He Doesn't 'Have Any'

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVDecember 30, 2021

Alabama head coach Nick Saban speaks during a news conference after quarterback Bryce Young won the Heisman Trophy, Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
AP Photo/John Minchillo

Alabama head football coach Nick Saban commented Thursday on the trials and tribulations the Crimson Tide went through this season en route to becoming the No. 1 team in the nation.

According to ESPN's Chris Low, Saban was asked by a reporter if the team tested his patience this season, to which Saban responded: "I don't have any patience, so anything that happens is a test of my patience, including sitting in this chair right now."

After going undefeated and winning a national championship last season, the Tide lost to Texas A&M in October and were in danger of potentially missing the College Football Playoff.

However, Saban's team went on a run and won some close games before beating then-No. 1 Georgia 41-24 in the SEC Championship Game and earning the No. 1 seed in the CFP.

Wins over LSU, Arkansas and Auburn were all one-score games, so while Alabama is the No. 1 team and perhaps the favorite to repeat as national champions, things have not come easily for Saban's squad in 2021.

Saban attempted to explain the reasoning behind the Tide's inconsistency, saying:

"I think it's always challenging when you're coming off winning a championship for players to have the same hunger and sense of urgency to prove something. I think that is sort of a part of the human condition, that when you have success you want to be rewarded, you want to relax and can be a little complacent, so I don't think it was unusual from that standpoint.
"We sort of anticipate that when we have a successful season and are coming off a successful season, but because we were young, it took this team a little longer to maybe respond on a consistent basis like we wanted them to."

Aside from potential complacency, Alabama lost several key players from last season's 13-0 team to the NFL.

Chief among them were quarterback Mac Jones, running back Najee Harris, wide receivers DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle, offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood, cornerback Patrick Surtain II and defensive tackle Christian Barmore.

Despite losing so much talent, Bama persevered this season thanks largely to the play of Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Bryce Young.

Young has been as good as advertised this season, completing 68.0 percent of his passes for 4,322 yards, 43 touchdowns and just four interceptions.

The pressure will be squarely on the shoulders of Young, Saban and the Crimson Tide on Friday when they host No. 4 Cincinnati in the Cotton Bowl, which doubles as one of the two CFP semifinals.

Alabama is heavily favored against the first Group of Five team to ever reach the College Football Playoff, meaning the Tide's preparation and will to win will be put to the test.