'This is All We Have, But This is all We Need' Personifies This Alabama Team
The slogan by Will Anderson Jr. carried the Crimson Tide through November to keep alive its College Football Playoff hopes.
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Are we done yet, or just beginning?
That was the prevailing feeling at Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday, when the Alabama Crimson Tide closed the 2022 regular season unsure of its status, and about what may come next.
With the College Football Playoff still a very realistic possibility, Alabama will have to wait to see how things play out next week, while Nick Saban hits the recruiting trail with a lot things up in the air.
Assistant coaches may land other jobs. Players are already entering their names into the transfer portal. Others have to start thinking about the NFL.
Was this the last game for the likes of quarterback Bryce Young and linebacker Will Anderson Jr.? They wouldn't be blamed for saying no thanks to playing in a bowl game.
Yet they could still play for another national championship.
There's just no way to know.
So Alabama did what it could, win against Auburn, and simply enjoy it.
"Be where our feet are," senior defensive back DeMarcco Hellams said.
"No better way to go out," defensive lineman DJ Dale said after the 49-27 victory.
Even if things don't work out for Alabama regarding the playoff, this team left Bryant-Denny Stadium feeling pretty good about what it had accomplished, and it should.
It stayed together, bounced back from the tough final-play loss at LSU and won at Ole Miss, then ranked No. 11. The Crimson Tide also posted a solid win against its biggest rival, Auburn on Saturday afternoon, with Young passing for 343 yards and three touchdowns, and ran for another score in perhaps his final home game.
At some places, the quarterback would have already been done, or the star linebacker, or some of the standout defensive backs, etc. What Alabama did while bouncing back wasn't easy, especially since so many things had to go right for it to have a playoff shot.
All one has to do is look at the rest of college football to see that. One-by-one the contenders continue to fall, while the Crimson Tide kept treading water to stay alive for the national championship.
"To be honest with you I think that a lot of the naysayers, a lot of the people who were very negative about this team," Saban said was the key to keeping the necessary focus. "A lot of the things that were written and said about this team, really united the players."
It wasn't just about them, but the coaches as well. How many times have you heard someone complain about the play-calling? Or the blitzing. Even the team's strength and conditioning, all by those who had no idea of the preparation that took place this week, this month and this year.
So Anderson came up with the motto that turned into a mantra and the rallying call for the Crimson Tide:
"This is All we Have, But This is all we Need."
Everyone took it to heart.
"We just kind of ran with it," senior guard Emil Ekiyor Jr. We even say it in our game warmups or pre-practice warmups. It's kind of the mentality of the team. We embraced it and it brought us closer together."
It gave Alabama something to rally around, and it showed.
From kicker Will Reichard's tackle on the opening kickoff, to senior linebacker Henry To'oTo'o leveling a ballcarrier on the final possession, the heart Alabama played with against Auburn wasn't fake.
It wasn't for the playoff push, either.
"We just decided to try play for each other," Hellams said.
Meanwhile, in the Fail Room, visiting locker room, the Tigers were dealing with another loss and finishing below .500. They're not bowl eligible, and the naming of a new head coach appears imminent.
Hugh Freeze was reportedly close to having a deal done to bring him back to the Southeastern Conference, with a better job than the one he previously held. If so, second chances and forgiveness will again be a theme at Auburn (especially after his team at Liberty collapsed against New Mexico State and went down in flames with three straight losses).
The point is, distractions can be difficult at this level, just ask the other person thought to be up for the Auburn gig, Lane Kiffin. Ole Miss lost four out of its final five games.
Saban, the coaching staff and the players made sure something like that didn't happen at Alabama. He went out of his way to mention that the culture is strong, and the future remains bright.
However, he also took time to note that negative attitudes and naysayers among the fan base where hurting the program and university.
"This program was built on positive," he said. "It was built on 95,000 people coming here for the spring game when we came here and everyone wanted to be a part of that."
A lot of them still do.
I'm positive about that.
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