The rumors surrounding the future of Alabama offensive line coach Joe Pendry are apparently true. According to the Tuscaloosa News:
University of Alabama assistant coach Joe Pendry is retiring from coaching, a source confirmed to The Tuscaloosa News.
Pendry, 63, has been the Crimson Tide's only offensive line coach since head coach Nick Saban took over the program in 2007. As well, the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel reported that Miami Hurricanes offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland was in Tuscaloosa Tuesday regarding a position on the UA staff.
With the end near for Pendry, a big tip of the houndstooth fedora is in order. He was not a popular hire when announced four years ago -- most fans complained because he was the OL coach for the Houston Texans when David Carr was getting sacked 50+ times per season -- and in fact he wasn't Saban's first choice for the job either. Saban initially hired Steve Marshall to be the offensive line coach, but Marshall left after only about two weeks on the job to take a position in the NFL with the Cleveland Browns. Despite that, Pendry has generally done a superb job at Alabama. 2007 was as good as could have reasonably been expected given the injuries and the suspensions, and the offensive line played a huge role in paving the way to the 12-0 start in 2008, and obviously an even bigger role in the 2009 national championship and the Heisman Trophy of Mark Ingram.
Having said all that, though, I cannot help but believe this move was somewhat of a mutual decision. Despite all of the success in the first three years, the offensive line largely fell apart this season. Sure, injuries played part of that, but when we had to run wide because we couldn't establish the running game between the tackles against lowly Georgia State, it became obvious that we had much greater issues than just some nagging injuries. As more of a general point, we had weak lines on both sides of the ball this year, despite otherwise having seemingly good depth and talent, and that was clearly the biggest single disappointment of the season. And now, after that, both men most responsible for line play are now gone, one with a lateral move and the other to retirement. It's a bit hard to believe that's entirely a coincidence.