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  • Writer's pictureKevin Scarbinsky

That word means exactly what Nick Saban thinks it means

Nick Saban has a way with words. It's one of his many talents, and I, for one, have always been here for it. His linguistic skill set, his ability to string sentences together in interesting ways in service of his mission at the moment, will be one of the more enduring aspects of his legacy.

He's peppered the air and our ears with a long list of pet phrases that an entire state can recite by heart. Positive self-gratification. Principles and values of the organization. Like spit through a tin horn. Except you, your mom and them all know he didn't use the vernacular for saliva, employing instead a rhyming bodily substance to describe how Georgia Southern's option game ran for 302 yards through the bowels of his otherwise otherworldly 2011 Alabama defense.

Saban was at it again the other day at the start of his 16th preseason football camp at Alabama, setting off a local, regional and national discussion on the definition of the word "rebuilding." He used it to describe a 2021 season in which the Crimson Tide managed to repair enough holes in the sheetrock to win the SEC West, the SEC, a playoff berth and a spot in the National Championship Game, where they took the lead in the fourth quarter only to succumb at last to equally talented and terribly hungry Georgia.

Turned out, the man was right. Losing six would-be returning starters to early NFL departure, as well as four other draft picks, was a bridge too far to travel to retain its title. Then again, the walls didn't exactly cave in. Alabama started last season No. 1 and finished No. 2.

The familiar destination as one of the last two teams standing for the sixth time in seven years shouldn't obscure the difficulty of the journey. ...

Read the rest of Kevin's thoughts on Saban's latest lesson in GOAT linguistics. Only in the Lede.

When Nick Saban says "rebuilding," he means "rebuilding."



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