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Jumbo Package: Todd Grantham reportedly a realistic DC option, Saban meets with Washington OC

Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Tuesday, everyone. The men’s basketball team will try and bounce back from Saturday’s shellacking in Norman, as they host Vanderbilt. Nate Oats spoke to reporters yesterday and said that the team had been skating by for a while without playing their best.

“I think we played poorly and got away with it before that,” Oats said. “Teams missed shots against us or sometimes missed free throws. This was a game where Oklahoma was locked in and they needed a win bad.”

Alabama, meanwhile, had no fire in their collective belly for the SEC/Big 12 Challenge.

“So yeah, if you’re not going to play with a sense of urgency and you’re not going to play hard, you need to lose the game,” Oats said. “The point has to be made, you can’t get away with doing that.”

Bottom line is that Oklahoma took it to them in a hostile environment and they didn’t respond well. Hopefully they can grow from the experience and reach their vast potential in March. Tip-off is 7:30 CT on SEC Network, and we will of course have coverage later on.

In football news, all anyone wants to talk about is who Saban will hire has his assistants, so I reckon we will. Dennis Dodd has #sauces telling him that Saban would like to have Jeremy Pruitt but it’s unlikely to happen.

Alabama coach Nick Saban has reached out to former Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt regarding the Crimson Tide’s vacant defensive coordinator position, sources tell CBS Sports. It is believed no offer has been made at this time, and Alabama would not speak on Pruitt’s candidacy when contacted for comment.

Sources indicate Pruitt would face long odds to getting hired by the Tide as the subject of an ongoing NCAA investigation. He was fired at Tennessee two years ago as the NCAA levied allegations of 18 Level I violations on the Volunteers. Level I violations are most serious on the NCAA’s scale of infractions.

So, if it ain’t Pruitt, then who might it be?

Georgia co-defensive coordinator Glenn Schumann was thought to be the leading alternative to Pruitt as late as last week. However, sources have since indicated to Tide Illustrated that Bulldogs head coach Kirby Smart is now confident in his ability to keep Schumann in Athens.

In addition, there does not appear to be any progression with Alabama and other rumored candidates, including Jimmy Lake or Jim Leonhard.

That appears to leave Grantham as the most likely alternative at the moment. The 56-year-old assistant joined Alabama’s staff as a defensive analyst last summer after spending the previous four seasons as Florida’s defensive coordinator.

No idea how reliable Tony’s #sauces are, but Grantham is 56 years old, has over 30 years experience in the coaching game, got his first DC job in 2005, has coordinated both in college and the NFL, and most importantly has worked for Saban at Michigan State and then as an analyst this past season. As a coordinator, his defenses have had good seasons and bad seasons. If he’s a guy that Saban feels comfortable hiring, then he will do fine, even as the complainers continue to complain.

Saban spoke with Washington OC Ryan Grubb about that opening.

Grubb, 47, spent last season leading the Huskies’ offense while also serving as its quarterbacks coach. The Iowa native has coached at the FBS level since 2014 but never in the SEC and has no direct ties to Saban or his coaching tree.

Washington raised Grubb’s salary twice late in 2022, including a second raise in December that would pay him $2 million annually through 2025, according to the Seattle Times. That placed Grubb among the highest-paid assistants in college football and significantly higher than Bill O’Brien, who made $1.1 million the past two seasons for Alabama.

It will be interesting to see if this happens. From Grubb’s perspective, he’d get to show that he can call an offense without head coach Kalen KeBoer’s watchful eye over him, as he’s been for nearly his whole career.

Much of the credit went to Grubb, and that credit is likely deserved. But Grubb leaving might answer a question: Was the offense his brainchild or that of head coach Kalen DeBoer?

It’s always tricky trying to figure out who the real guru is when an OC is coaching under his offensive-oriented boss. DeBoer was an offensive coordinator at Southern Illinois, Eastern Michigan and Indiana before landing the HC job at Fresno State — where the Bulldogs produced a top-15 offense in Kalen’s second year.

This hire would be something of a departure for Saban since it seems rather impossible that he’d have much familiarity with Grubb. He will undoubtedly do his due diligence though, and if he feels comfortable with him then Grubb it is.

Last, Roman Harper shared the DeVonta Smith interview I embedded yesterday with a little jab at David Pollack, who told Nick Saban at the national championship game that Georgia “had taken hold of college football.

Georgia ain’t going anywhere, and neither is Alabama. Those two will be contending for the foreseeable future.

That’s about it for now. Have a great day.

Roll Tide.