Happy Tuesday, everyone. Alabama basketball takes on Mizzou tonight at Coleman Coliseum. Tip off is at 6pm, and we will have coverage of the game later per usual.
Kalen DeBoer continues to fill out his staff, settling on South Alabama head coach Kane Wommack as his defensive coordinator.
DeBoer and Wommack worked together on Indiana’s staff in 2019, DeBoer as the Hoosiers’ offensive coordinator and Wommack as defensive coordinator. Wommack, 36, just finished his third season as South Alabama’s head coach and led the Jaguars to bowl games each of the past two seasons. South Alabama won 10 games in 2022, the most in school history as an FBS program.
In his final season as Indiana’s defensive coordinator in 2020, Wommack was a finalist for the Broyles Award, which goes to the top assistant coach in the country.
The Hoosiers led the Big Ten that season with 20 forced turnovers. When promoted from linebackers coach to defensive coordinator in 2019, Wommack at the time was the youngest Power 5 defensive coordinator.
In general, this is seen as a solid hire. Hopefully the players feel that way, since the NCAA created this one-way portal mess. Trey Amos is the most recent to enter. That one is a bit surprising, but he does only have one year of eligibility left and DeBoer is reportedly heavily recruiting All-Pac 12 corner Jabbar Muhammad from Washington, who is also in the portal. Former five-star Domani Jackson was already brought in from USC as well.
There is one DB that no Alabama fan wants to see in the transfer portal, and this ESPN fellow mentioned him yesterday.
I was told that Alabama freshman Caleb Downs hasn’t made a decision on his future yet, if he’ll stay or transfer.— Tom VanHaaren (@TomVH) January 15, 2024
He’d like to see who’s added to the Bama defensive staff, but very likely could make a decision either way tomorrow. Travaris Robinson staying at Georgia factors in.
I’m not familiar with Van Haaren but he appears to live in Michigan. What I can tell you is that from the day that Saban retired, Ohio State folks seemed convinced that they were going to be able to purchase Caleb’s services. Some of those are probably his “sources” here.
That said, it’s only common sense to be concerned about Downs since Travaris Robinson left. Hopefully he stays, but Alabama will still field a team either way, and a damn good one. Caleb has been completely mum thus far and has reportedly attended both meetings that DeBoer has held, including one last night.
Nick Kelly has some DeBoer stories for you.
DeBoer and Sioux Falls had just lost 55-0 to Carroll College in Montana. Then, to get to the postgame interview, DeBoer had to go up to the press box, an open press box at that, in Helena, Montana, in December where it was “colder than heck,” Frederick said. Oh and one more thing — DeBoer had to climb a ladder to get to the press box where the radio crew sat.
Some coaches wouldn’t take that whole scenario well. Then there’s DeBoer.
“He wasn’t mad,” Frederick said. “He wasn’t perturbed.”
Instead, DeBoer sat down during the commercial break and munched on a bag of chips left over from the halftime meal. Once back from commercial, he answered questions for about 10 minutes.
“He wasn’t short with his answers,” Frederick said. “He knew what they needed to do to go forward. They had to get better up front in the trenches and establish a ground game.”
Last but not least, The Athletic staff compiled some Saban stories that may be the best thing you read today.
A couple of years back, Saban told a story about Miss Terry dating a guy named Mickey Shaffer. Once Shaffer was out of the picture, Saban was finally able to land a date. A few decades and national championships later, their small enclave of West Virginia held a homecoming celebration for Saban. And as fate (legend?) would have it, Shaffer was still living in town and now had a service station of his own.
(Indeed, a Michael “Mick” Shaffer born in 1950, a year earlier than Saban, graduated from East Fairmont High and co-owned a hydraulics shop. He died in Dec. 2020.)
As Saban tells it, he used this visit to drive by Shaffer’s service station and remind Miss Terry that she made the right choice. See honey, if you would have stayed with him …
To which Miss Terry replied, “Bulls—. If I married him, he’d be the head coach at Alabama.” — Justin Williams
That one is hilarious.
That’s about it for now. Have a great day.