TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — When it comes to tying up loose ends from the previous season, it’s tough to top what the University of Alabama football team did this past week.
For the fourth time in seven years, it celebrated a national championship with a trip to the White House to be honored by President Barack Obama. The team has made so many visits that one has to wonder if the secret service has assigned Nick Saban a nickname (Obama got to choose his, “Renegade”).
“Coach, what took you so long?” the president joked. “It’s been three whole years since I last saw you.”
Although the season ended in January, it was the second time since then that former Alabama running back Derrick Henry got to spend some time with the president as they struck up a Heisman Trophy pose together at a National Prayer Breakfast last month.
“This is a kid who grew up running down dirt roads, and raised on his grandma’s oxtail stew,” said President Obama during the East Room ceremony, “and so he knew something about hardship, and was remembering that hardship in his prayer.
“And that’s the kind of grit that he played every game with. And that’s the kind of determination that defines this entire team. Anybody who watched them knows it was not just a one-man wrecking crew.”
Alabama was not a one-man army in 2015, but as far as Saban’s concerned, that’s all in the past as the Crimson Tide will kick off spring practices in a week. The team will hold one on-field workout before spring break and then hit the meat of the schedule beginning March 21.
Here are a few players who need to make an impact.