Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports
Simply replacing Coach Stoutland won't be as easy as you may think.
If you haven't heard yet (hey, maybe you've been under a rock all weekend), Jeff Stoutland has left the Capstone for the Philadelphia Eagles to be their new Offensive Line coach. Honestly, good for him. Saban has always advised his coaches to take promotions if they leave 'Bama and this looks to be exactly that. He may still be the "Offensive Line" coach but anytime you can move for a position coach in the NCAA to a position coach in the NFL, that's a promotion. Unless of course you go the Jacksonville Jaguars....
Couple things to take away from this...
(1) He did it quietly and as far as we know, it had no real effect on the recruiting process. That says a lot about Stoutland, IMO. 'Bama could of had the mass defection of coaches like FSU dealt with and lost several recruits in the process but we didn't (again, as far as we know). Sure, I feel bad for the OL recruits who were hoping to play for him but we don't know exactly what the coaching staff told the kids.
(2) We should have no backlash from the NCAA if in fact they come down hard on Miami.
This untimely news does however leave a very important coaching position open for Alabama. If I had to guess, Saban has known about this for a least a week or two and already has a plan in place. The question running through my head is how many high quality offensive line coaches are left out there? Most coaches who were looking to move have already done so and hopefully we aren't pulling from the bottom of the barrel.
As for the current staff, I'm not sure we have anyone who could simply step up and fill the hole. I know Chris Samuels is on staff but is he ready to take the reigns of such an important position?
As you already know, the Offensive Line only returns two starters from last year and though the players in line to fill the gap are highly touted and actually saw a decent amount of playing time last year (yay for blowouts), if Alabama has any hopes to 3-peat the Offensive Line must play at a high level.
And let this be made perfectly clear, the offensive line may be the most complex position(s) on the team. You can place a freshman speedster at wide receiver and he can have relative success. But the five guys playing OL need to be and move as one. Our entire offensive revolves around the O-line and they have to play well. The success of the 2013 season hinges on how seamless 'Bama replaces Chance Warmack, D.J.Fluker and Barrett Jones. So, the decision on who replaces Stoutland won't and shouldn't be, quick and easy..
So, lets do some Tuesday morning speculating. Who will replace coach Stoutland? Will it be someone from with-in or are there names floating around the rumor mills that seem plausible?