Alabama made mincemeat of the USC Trojans in the same stadium that saw them stomp Michigan State in the College Football Playoff semifinal en route to another national championship. So naturally, after the game, Alabama head coach Nick Saban suggested he needed more players that can win.
“We need to get more players that can play winning football,” Saban said fresh after a 52-6 victory over USC in Arlington. He supposedly said this with a straight face, because there is no way Saban is going to drop a joke in front of the media, even after a 46-point victory that will cement Alabama’s spot atop the polls in the coming days.
Saban post game: "We need to get more players that can play winning football."
— Cecil Hurt (@CecilHurt) September 4, 2016
It is one of those quotes that reads in an ironically funny way. Saban has no real problem winning games, and his recruiting pedigree is unrivaled. Surely Saban doesn’t think he’s coaching a bunch of losers. That would be impossible!
Of course, the real message Saban was trying to relay was likely referring more to giving his players experience winning football games. Alabama just sent off a cargo ship of talent to the NFL from last season’s national championship team, so there were some mild questions about Alabama out of the gate this season. That included the quarterback position, which seems to pop up every few years for Saban and Alabama. As talented and stock-piled Alabama is with recruiting success, it is still important to get younger players or fresh faces involved to find their identities and become a part of the Alabama formula for another championship-caliber squad. On Saturday night, that could be demonstrated by quarterback Jalen Hurts, who fumbled away the first football he briefly held in the game only to battle back and contribute four touchdowns (two through the air and two more on the ground).
For all the preseason talk about Alabama having to likely choose between Blake Barnett and Cooper Bateman, it was the freshman Hurts who shined the brightest on the biggest football stage there is.
Safe to say Alabama gave a lot of their players a chance to be a part of a winning football team. Sure enough, however, Saban will later find a way to suggest he needs more talented players to step up and make something happen. That’s just how he rolls.