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  • Kevin Scarbinsky

Opt me in to the Bryce Young and Will Anderson fan club

That was more like it, more like him, the Nick Saban we used to know, using a press conference at the start of bowl practice as a bully pulpit. Two weeks after his less than persuasive lobbying aimed at the playoff selection committee came up short, Saban put down the mallet and picked up a scalpel on the debate topic of our time.


Football players - should they play football or nah?


Bryce Young and Will Anderson Jr. said yes, Sugar Bowl here we come. Saban, to paraphrase, said hell, yeah. The big news delighted ticket sellers, deflated Big 12 champion Kansas State and set off a discussion that's only possible in the upside down that is this sport at this level.


After praising his 2021 Heisman quarterback and his two-time national defensive player of the year as the team players and leaders they are, the Alabama coach fielded a question. It concerned the conversations he had with his stars before they decided they will show up, suit up and ball out in New Orleans on New Year's Eve.


Saban didn't answer that question, but he made the points he wanted to make and a lot of old-school football people wanted to hear.


"You know it's kinda interesting that people opt out of playing for their team," he said. "The way you create value for yourself is to play football. That is the best way you can create value for your future. When you do that against good competition, I think that creates value for your future.


"I hear guys all the time say, 'I'm going to get ready for the NFL.' Well, what do you mean? You getting ready for the combine? A lot of the things that you do at the combine are not even relevant to what you do on the football field."


Read the rest of Kevin's kudos for Young, Anderson and Saban. Only in The Lede.


Bryce Young (r) and Will Anderson ended their stellar Alabama careers on a high note just by playing in the Sugar Bowl.


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