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Alabama 2018 Spring Football Preview: The Coaching Staff Shuffle DEFENSE

Six new coaches join the fray. Only one coach retains the same title. Today we examine the defense.

Arkansas v Alabama
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Friday we covered the offensive coaches. Today it’s the three new faces on the defense plus a promoted assistant.


Oddly enough, only four of the ten assistants coach the defense. Of course defense is Nick Saban’s forte as well (and he is equal to two or more men anyway, amirite?).

It may have been a slight surprise to some observers that Tosh Lupoi was named defensive coordinator. Clearly, Nick Saban wanted to retain him at any cost, even shelling out $950,000 for the first time defensive coordinator (FUN FACT: In 2009, Lupoi’s base salary was $81,000 as an assistant at Cal). This is Lupoi’s first time as a DC but expect him to get a great deal of help from a rising star and a legendary defensive linemen developer.

Tosh Lupoi (age 36) Defensive Coordinator/Outside Linebackers @CoachLup
CROOTIN: With the departure of Jeremy Pruitt to Tennessee, Lupoi becomes the ace recruiter on staff (if he wasn’t already). He is another coach who caught Saban’s eye when he became a recruiting legend by ripping North Carolina native Keenan Allen away from Alabama’s clutches to play for Cal of all places! He is credited with signing the likes of Najee Harris (California), Dylan Moses (Louisiana), and Tua Tagovailoa (Hawaii) among others. His recruiting territory can be seen here.
COACHING: Oddly enough with three seasons at the Capstone under his belt, Lupoi is the longest tenured on-field assistant currently on staff. He has a good reputation at developing players. Some of his pupils at Alabama include Tim Williams, Ryan Anderson, Anfernee Jennings and Jamey Mosley. Not a bad resume. Saban believes Lupoi is ready to take the reins, but this may be a group effort.

Pete Golding (age 36ish) Co-Defensive Coordinator/Inside Linebackers @CoachGolding
CROOTIN: Originally from Hammond, LA outside Baton Rouge, Golding played for and was a grad assistant at Delta State (MS). He also coached Tusculum College (MS), Southeastern Louisiana and Southern Miss before ascending to the position of defensive coordinator at UTSA. His recruiting specialty will likely be the Gulf Coast region and Texas.
COACHING: Two words: Marcus Davenport. At UTSA, Golding helped mold a former 2-star recruit into a surefire first round NFL Draft pick. In 2017, the Roadrunners had the fifth stingiest defense in FBS yielding 287.8 ypg. That number is better than Georgia, Penn State, Michigan, LSU, Auburn and 120 other teams. They were eighth in FBS in scoring allowed at 17.0 ppg. It is believed that Golding could be handling the defensive calls while Lupoi takes on the role of the defensive planning and implementing of Saban’s defensive scheme.

Craig Kuligowski (age 49) Associate Head Coach/Defensive Line @LetsMeetAtTheQB
CROOTIN: Before leaving Miami, he was able to secure Top 50 player Nesta Silvera for Mark Richt. His first Tide commit came from 4-star ILB Jackson Bratton (Muscle Shoals, AL) for the Class of 2020 who committed last Saturday. He mainly recruits for the Front Seven positions with inroads into South Florida already in place.
COACHING: Many consider “Coach Kool” one of the best defensive line coaches in college football. It bears repeating that during his 15 years at Mizzou, he repeatedly turned marginal recruits such as Kony Ealy, Charles Harris, Shane Ray, Aldon Smith, Ziggy Hood, Markus Golden et al into NFL 1st & 2nd rounders. Imagine what he can do with four and five star players.

Karl Scott (age 35ish) Defensive Backs @iamcoachscott
CROOTIN: Scott has a foothold in his home state of Texas. He was the second recruiter on Class of 2018 DBs Patrick Surtain Jr. and Eddie Smith.
COACHING: While most of the headlines have focused on the other coaches, it is Scott who may have the hardest job of all of the assistants. He will be charged with helping rebuild a secondary that is losing Minkah Fitzpatrick, Ronnie Harrison, Anthony Averett, Levi Wallace, Tony Brown, and Hootie Jones to the NFL. Scott spent the last two seasons as the secondary coach at Texas Tech. The Red Raiders jumped from 5 interceptions in his first season in Lubbock to 14 last season. Two defensive backs from his secondary were named All-Big 12 selections in 2017. Scott was hired by Billy Napier as Louisiana-Lafayette’s defensive coordinator in December but could not pass up the chance to come to Tuscaloosa instead. He coached with Pete Golding at SE Louisiana (2012-13) and at Tusculum (2008-09).


Which new defensive coach was the most intriguing hire?

This poll is closed

  • 46%
    Craig Kuligowski
    (300 votes)
  • 9%
    Karl Scott
    (62 votes)
  • 43%
    Pete Golding
    (279 votes)
641 votes total Vote Now