As they did last week with offensive coaches, Sports Illustrated turned their attention this week to the carousel of new defensive coaches at major programs. And, lucky us, Alabama gets to be on both lists! /s
Alabama: Is Steele the solution?
Out: Pete Golding (Next: Ole Miss DC)
In: Kevin Steele (Previous: Miami DC)
The era of defense winning championships isn’t exactly extinct (see: Georgia), but it’s not the easiest route to the crown given what even the Tide have done, which is build that side of the ball to be good enough, but rely on elite offense to carry things. How much Alabama will depend on defense moving forward remains to be seen as the Tide enter into an uncertain era on offense, but the Bama fans who have wanted Pete Golding out for so long get their wish in Steele, who is on his third tour of duty with the Tide.
Honestly, who knows how Steele will fare. He wasn’t exactly lighting it up at Clemson as a DC, nor was he stellar in his first stop at Tuscaloosa. But the latter is somewhat forgivable in that the Tide was learning a new scheme and was not the NFL pipeline of talent that it is today. At later stops at Auburn, for instance, Steele took a solid core that he inherited from Muschamp and made them one of the SEC’s better units. In particular, defensive line play was dominating and the secondary was far more aggressive — Steele does coach up holding on every possession back there [citation required.]
I think this is nothing more than a matter of Saban not having to break someone new into the scheme, managing his expectations of a younger staff, or trying to work around his more severe style as program CEO with a generation that he has frequently observed to be a little less amenable to harsh ass-chewings: An older man not wanting to waste his last years trying to teach a youngster how to be exactly who he wants. Steele already knows what Saban expects. Whether he will get there or not, and whether the roster is built for it, is a different matter entirely.
In any event, this hiring at least does not seem to be the risk that Rees is. The nice thing about Saban retreads is that you know while they may be unexciting and the ceiling may not be stratospheric, the floor isn’t apt to crumble beneath you either with a known quantity.
Is Steele just a guy? Sure. But I think this side of the ball shows a risk aversion that we can mostly live with.
This is what happens when you let the riff-raff start believing they’re people: 24/7 has named Neyland Stadium as CFB’s “Top Stadium Environment.” Three decent seasons in 15 years, one a piece under three different coaches, and a venue that for a solid decade was more crimson than orange is suddenly teh bestest evah.
Sports inherently involves a lot of trend-chasing, but that’s frankly absurd.
Last week, we kicked off our unit preview coverage with the most important position on the field, quarterback. So, it should come as no surprise that today Nick Saban focused on the four guys who will be competing for the starting job. And, as we spitballed in that preview, if there were ever a year where two freshmen could show up on campus and legitimately compete for the starting job, it’s this one:
“I think everybody has an opportunity,” Saban said. “None of the guys have a significant amount of experience. I think Jalen played one game, half a game where he really had to play a game, and he made a lot of plays. He made plays in a different way than Bryce made plays.
“Ty, who made significant progress throughout the year but never really had much of an opportunity to play in critical situations in a game, is also someone that we think has developed and made a lot of improvement and has a lot of potential to be a pretty good player.
“Then we’ve got two young freshmen that they probably have a long way to go, but they’re eager to learn and they’re eager to try to improve and get a better understanding of what we need to do. But development at that position is really gonna be a critical thing for our team this year because I like the players that we have around them.”
For a more in-depth look at the contenders, what each brings to the table, and their relative weaknesses, click that link below. Each of the four has a very different skill set from one another, and that whomever wins the job will dictate what sort of offensive direction the Tide goes in.
Long on potential, short on experience.
Mock Draft season is upon us! And notoriously-incorrect Mel Kiper has Will Anderson falling all the way to No. 4, behind the two competent quarterbacks and Will Levis. I still think Levis’s decision-making and terrible field vision is going to doom him, but what do I know? I would have drafted Watson over Trubisky.
Levis’s arm talent is absolutely not in question. He’s a freak with a rare cannon. But...man, that brain...reading the right play quickly and getting it to him in the limited time available is just not a skill that many pick up after a decade of organized play. Either a QB is smart, or he’s not. Either he leads receivers or does not. Either he trusts his read and makes timely throws, or he does not.
And this one does not. He has a Vinny Testaverde arm with a Nathan Peterman brain.
But, hey, at least his accuracy also sucks!
As for No. 1 and No. 2, I think that’s probably the right order at the end of the day: Stroud, who may not have the all-world ceiling but is perhaps a safer pick, and then Bryce, who could be a superstar...or in an Ocho broadcast booth in five years. It really just depends on how risk-averse the Panthers wish to be (if they even hold on to that pick).
I know this is going to shock you, but Nick Saban again made the declaration that Alabama does not have a depth chart. LOL.
“The number one focus of spring is on your development,” said the seven-time national champion. Every player, we want you to focus on your development, not what team you are, not where you are at, not the reps, but take advantage of every opportunity you get. A lot of opportunities, everybody has an opportunity to compete”.
Welp, have fun with that libel suit. And I hope it’s the first of several defamation actions:
Update: Tide 100.9 received a statement furnished on behalf of the Spears family by The Law Offices of New, Taylor, and Associates
“FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Law Offices of New, Taylor & Associates represents Kai Spears, a student athlete at the University of Alabama, as well as his parents, Marshall University Athletic Director, Christian Spears, and his wife, Dr. Julia Spears. The article in the New York Times, dated March 15, 2023, identifying Kai as a fourth person at the scene of a shooting is demonstrably false, as we can demonstrate Kai was not in the car, nor near that vicinity at the time in question.
This irresponsible journalism has harmed Kai and his family, as well as the University of Alabama and Marshall University. I have reached out to General Counsel for the New York Times, with no response. As you can imagine, the Spears family has been incredibly impacted by this harmful and false article, as is clear in Mr. Spears’ own words: “I am furious at the completely erroneous article(s) placing my son in the car at the scene. It is absolutely false; Kai was not there. I am grateful to the people who are supporting our family. We all must hold irresponsible journalists and their publications accountable.” -Christian Spears.
We are exploring all legal options available to the Spears family. Please direct any questions to my attention at (304) 250-6017, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sincerely, Stephen P. New”
Nick Saban is going Portal shopping, but he wants to take a deliberative approach and, if he takes anyone at all, wants immediate impact players.
“What we’ve tried to do when it comes to the portal is look at guys that we think can make an immediate impact on our team,” Saban said. “We have always tried to build our team with good recruiting of good, young players who sort of fit the culture of what we want to do. … I think most of the players that we’ve taken from the portal, and I think there’s been six prior to this year. Five of those guys all made significant impacts on the team. One guy got injured and probably didn’t have the opportunity to do it or he probably would’ve made an impact, as well.
“We’re going to continue that same philosophy of how we bring guys in to the team. We still have to manage the roster, we still have to manage numbers. I think you’ve always got to take that into consideration when you’re dealing with the portal, as well.”
Last year worked out pretty well, didn’t it? Steen had an All SEC-type season, and Jahmyr Gibbs’ formidable talent was on display and gave the Tide’s running game explosion it has not had since Jacobs headed to the pros.
Who’s going to be the impact starter Alabama grabs this year?
With the Tide Hoops just a few days away from playing for the chance to go to its second Elite 8 appearance, an ailing Brandon Miller again sat out practice today. Rest up that groin, man. We need you like a drowning man needs water.
After he got done whining about Tennessee playing defense, Bilas put his big boy pants back on, looked at his busted bracket, and then picked an Alabama-UConn rematch in the NCAA Tournament final, pegging them both as “intriguing.”
And, speaking of B Mill, there’s some speculation that he has the opportunity to play himself into the No. 2 overall pick of the 2023 NBA Draft. He won’t be first, of course. For years, everyone has known, planned for, and perhaps even tanked for the opportunity to draft Victor Wembanyama — a 7’3” swing who can literally play every position on the court (and there is some speculation that Scoot Henderson could slide into No. 2 as well). All Brandon Miller has done this year is become one of the most polished freshmen in the game, drawing comparisons to McGrady (among others), the best player to ever wear a crimson uniform, and the most decorated Freshman in recent SEC history.
Secondary is a moving target, particularly with the absence of alleged world class idiot Tony Mitchell. Tony was a field-ready corner that could have seen action at Star or Money. Still, there is a lot of veteran leadership at the corners this year, including the best one in America, Kool-Aid McKinstry.
On the opportunity Kool-Aid McKinstry, Malachi Moore have as the most experienced guys in secondary...
“It’s an opportunity for them to play. It’s an opportunity for him to create value for themselves in their future by how they play. But it’s no different for them than it is all the other guys. How responsible and accountable are you to do your job? How do you pay attention to detail so that you can self-assess and improve and try to get better at what you do and have a sense of urgency about how you approach everything every day? How they pay attention to detail, so that’s I think that’s everybody’s opportunity. I don’t see it any different for those guys. They have experience, experience probably matters, their leadership probably matters and how it helps other players around them develop. But I think that creates value for them as well.”
The rest of Nick Saban’s remarks are over here at 247, and if you’d rather watch the presser, it’s just below
We’ll be back later with some more for you folks.
Given the lack of depth, do you think Alabama will be targeting offensive linemen in the portal this spring?
This poll is closed
Yes. There are too many holes and not enough proven bodies.
No. Alabama will develop the younger or newer players before turning outside for help