It didn’t take long for Alabama head coach Nick Saban to find a replacement for outgoing assistant Tosh Lupoi and it is a familiar face.
Florida Gators defensive line coach Sal Sunseri will be returning to Tuscaloosa where he served as linebackers coach during the early heydays of Saban’s Alabama run 2009-2011. He helped develop such stalwarts as Rolando McClain, Don’ta Hightower, and Courtney Upshaw. While it is still unclear what role he will play, he will likely take over a troubled linebacking corps in some capacity.
After leaving Alabama, Sunseri was defensive coordinator at Tennessee for Derek Dooley’s final season. His services were not retained by Dooley’s successor... Butch Jones (awk-ward). He spent two season as Jimbo Fisher’s Florida State defensive ends coach, three years with Jack Del Rio in Oakland as linebackers coach, and this past season in Gainesville.
Not only will the 59-year old reunite with his T-town friends but he will be joining his son, Vinnie Sunseri, who has signed on to be a graduate assistant after a brief 3 year NFL career between the Saints (2014–2015) and 49ers (2016).
The former Alabama safety started seven games for the Crimson Tide as a sophomore in 2012 and became a key component to the defense as one of the top secondary defenders in 2013, recording two pick-sixes in the team’s first seven games of that season, before he suffered a season-ending knee injury. After the season, he surprised many by declaring early for the NFL Draft. Word was that Saban was not happy about his decision as it left quite a void at safety that the team had not prepared for.
Sunseri was drafted in the fifth round of the 2014 draft by the Saints but only played in 9 games and recorded 5 tackles. He played 6 games in San Fran and hung it up.
Now the Sunseris are both back in Tuscaloosa. Perhaps they can bring back some of the anger and nastiness to the defense.