Nick Saban reveals how the transfer portal uniquely affects Alabama

On3 imageby:Grant Grubbs11/09/23

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Nick Saban talks Kentucky, opening-drive struggles on offense | Alabama Football

The transfer portal isn’t perfect. Nick Saban knows this reality all too well. During an appearance on “Hey Coach & the Nick Saban Show,” the Alabama head coach revealed how the transfer portal has negatively affected his program.

“One of the ways that the portal has affected our team is we don’t lose our best players. We lose the next best player,” Saban said. “The guy that’s been in the program for two or three years — he’s a really good player, good special teams guy, a backup, but he goes someplace else and starts for somebody else.”

Alabama brings in big fish, but the program is a vast ocean. Players who have been stars their entire lives are just another body on the Alabama roster. Thus, they look for a more suitable pond. With the current state of the transfer portal, the swim is easy.

Alabama had 21 players hit the transfer portal last season. The list includes players such as Oregon wide receiver Traeshon Holden, Miami offensive lineman Javion Cohen and TCU wideout JoJo Earle. The list goes on and on.

Alabama isn’t a target destination in the transfer portal

“I’ve watched a few games on TV and I see four or five of our guys that are starting for other teams. Well, those guys would be either starting for us or they would be our backups,” Saban said. “It’s harder for us to get guys to come because they only want to come if they’re gonna start. We have our best players. We lose our next best guys.”

It’s certainly more difficult to sell Alabama in the transfer portal. The Crimson Tide only reeled in five players through the portal this offseason. Of course, quality can be more important than quantity.

One of the players Alabama added via the portal is middle linebacker Trezmen Marshall. The Georgia transfer has 41 tackles this season and 2.5 sacks. While Marshall helps mend the hole left by Alabama’s mass exodus of transfers, he can’t single-handedly achieve this task.

Luckily for Marshall, Saban knows what his team needs.

“How do you fill that gap? That gap gets filled with younger players,” Saban said. “Freshmen, it takes a while for them to develop. We’ve had a lot of guys on our team now that have had the opportunity to develop through the season. I would say our depth is better than it has been.”

Alabama will need its depth this weekend. On Saturday, the Crimson Tide will square off against the Kentucky Wildcats at noon ET. The game will be broadcast on ESPN.