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Jumbo Package: The Ghost of Enos says Golding, not Lupoi, was calling the defense

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Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

NCAA Football: Texas A&M at Alabama Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Friday, everyone. News is still pretty slow, and probably will be until after National Signing Day when the coaching carousel can really get to spinning. We’ll open today with the cool Jalen Hurts tribute video from the football marketing folks.

Great stuff.

Since there’s nothing else to talk about, we might as well beat this assistant coach thing into the ground. It has now been confirmed in multiple places that Pete Golding was actually calling the defense in the playoffs, and had been as far back as October.

After some early struggles during the season, Saban stripped Lupoi of defensive play-calling responsibilities and handed them over to co-defensive coordinator Pete Golding, according to sources. Saban had poached Golding from UT-San Antonio in the offseason in part to alleviate concerns about Lupoi’s inexperience with the secondary and as a play-caller. Still, word is Lupoi seemed overwhelmed during practices and didn’t totally grasp situational play-calling. While he was still heavily involved in the defensive game-planning, there was no question Golding taking over play-calling represented a demotion of sorts for Lupoi barely into the start of his defensive coordinator stint. Additionally, it was clear within the program how much Saban valued Golding, especially given he fended off other schools including Ole Miss in order to keep Golding at Alabama. It gave Lupoi reason enough to look for a soft landing place once Alabama’s season ended.

There have been rumblings of Washington’s Jimmy Lake and other DC candidates interviewing, but Saban fought hard to keep Golding in town and seems to be very high on him. I fully expect Pete to be the coordinator. There have been rumblings about Craig Kuligowski moving on as well, but nothing has been confirmed. He interviewed for the Northern Illinois head coach position but they went in another direction. Again, nothing official is going to come out until February and truth be told, it was surprising that the Lupoi news broke when it did. Khris Bogle is clearly having some second thoughts.

Joe Pannunzio is actually Bogle’s primary recruiter, so hopefully he can keep him in the fold.

Dan Enos’ departure is getting some attention.

The remaining Crimson Tide staffers and Saban gathered for a meeting last Friday, and several of them knew Enos had accepted an offer from new Miami Hurricanes coach Manny Diaz, per Feldman. Saban, though, was unaware, prompting the coach to ask, “Where the F#$% is Dan?!?” Feldman wrote. Enos’ office had already been cleared out.

Enos later responded to the report on Twitter.

”I would never leave an employer without telling them I was doing so,” Enos said. “No ghosting here. Nothing but respect for (Coach Nick Saban) and Alabama. Bottom line, business is business and it was time for me to exit. Wish all the best to (Roll Tide Roll), (Coach Nick Saban) and the program.”

This was reported a few days ago behind a paywall but there had been no corroboration. There now seems to be a consensus that Enos had verbally accepted the OC role and never told Saban he was talking to anyone else. That had to be an awkward moment when the staffers who knew the score had to tell Saban. Enos responded to the flap, but Aaron Suttles wasn’t having it.

Whatever.

Tagovailoa and many of his offensive weapons will be gone after 2019, as will a number of key defensive players. There are still boatloads of talent in the program, but can mere talent continue to win out?

And the coaching “brain drain” has to become a bigger issue at some point, right? Clemson has caught up with Alabama, and Georgia seems to be closing fast.

We hope not, Creg, but thanks for putting that out in the universe! Also, wait and see on that last point. Still say that Kirby has recruited well, but this is his first post-honeymoon offseason and there are a couple of potentially fatal flaws on the roster.

Clemson is going to get all the rat poison now.

Bovada and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook have Clemson as a the 7/4 favorite, while Alabama is at 5/2.

This is a big change from the beginning of the year when Alabama was the top pick by oddsmakers. The Crimson Tide was 2/1 to win the 2020 national championship, while Georgia was second at 9/2 and Clemson was third at 6/1.

Staying at the top is exponentially harder than getting there. We’ll see how Dabo’s Tigers handle it. Depth is going to be an issue after taking only 31 players in the 2017 and 2018 classes combined. They’re going to need great injury luck again on both the offensive line and all three levels of the defense.

Last, it’s always a good time to beat the Vols.

It’s been a rough year overall for the ladies with several really bad losses, but after whipping Tennessee to break a three game losing streak they sit at 10-8, 2-3 in the conference. Perhaps they can get it together and make a run in league play.

That’s about it for today. Have a great weekend.

Roll Tide.