Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide lost the College Football Playoff National Championship Game 33-18 to the Georgia Bulldogs last month.

A big factor in the game was Alabama’s injury situation, as the Tide were down several key corners and their top 2 receivers.

During the Alabama Football Coaches Association on Thursday, Saban explained that the players who were next in line to take those reps simply hadn’t prepared well enough to be ready for the big moment:

“We lost the national championship game, basically because we had 3 corners out, both starters and the best backup,” Saban said. “So we’re playing with some guys that didn’t have a lot of experience. It eventually got us in the fourth quarter. We had the kind of team where we had a really good quarterback and we wanted to have skill guys that they couldn’t guard. So we had 2 who were really, really good — (John Metchie III and Jameson Williams). They both got hurt.

“Now, we were playing with guys that typically didn’t have to play at those positions. The lesson to be learned is there were 3 guys, and I’m not calling out any names, that basically didn’t do the things they needed to do throughout the season because they were frustrated with their circumstance. … They’re frustrated with their circumstance because they’re not playing as much as they want to. They’re outcome oriented, they want to worry about how many balls they catch or how much playing time they get or whatever it is. So they don’t focus every day on being a complete player at their position, and they don’t work in practice and prepare for the games because they say to themselves, ‘Why should I do this? I’m not gonna play anyway.’

“So, we had 3 guys, they all had a significant role in the national championship game, and not 1 of them, not 1, could take advantage of the opportunity that they had, because they never ground through it. They never made themselves the best player they could be. When they got the opportunity, they couldn’t do it. That’s a lesson for everybody. What comes first? Playing time? Or making sure that you’re ready to play and create value for yourself when you get the opportunity?”

You can bet Saban will use this past year’s title game loss as motivation and as a teaching tool for future generations of Tide players. We’ll see if the Tide are able to get back to the Playoff in 2022.