TideSports College Football Preview


It’s been a revolving door of sorts for the Alabama coaching staff.

So many coaches have come and gone in the last few years it’s hard to keep track of who’s coaching what position. Although, in some cases coaches do circle around through that door.

Just three coaches from last year’s staff are back for 2019 and even those three (Pete Golding, Jeff Banks and Karl Scott) were in their first year at Alabama last season.

The other seven assistants are new to the staff, sort of.

Alabama has its fifth new offensive coordinator since 2014, but it’s Steve Sarkisians’ second go-around in Tuscaloosa. He served as an analyst in 2016 and was promoted to offensive coordinator for the CFP national title game against Clemson. He left afterward for the same position with the Atlanta Falcons in the NFL.

“I think back a couple of years ago, going to Atlanta, that was a really tough decision but it was an opportunity that I couldn’t turn down,” Sarkisian said in a press conference in early August. “When this opportunity with coach Saban came up to come back here at Alabama it was one I jumped on. I was fortunate to have this opportunity present itself.”

And why not jump at the chance when the Heisman Trophy runner-up (Tua Tagovailoa) is back at quarterback, the Biletnikoff Award winner for best receiver (Jerry Jeudy) is back, and receiver threats DeVonta Smith, Henry Ruggs III and Jaylen Waddle are bask as well. Throw in to running backs Najee Harris and Brian Robinson and Sarkisian is stepping into a nice situation.

But his job is to make that situation better.

“I think you come in and evaluate the whole thing and you say, ‘OK how can I continue to help this team get better? How can I try to help these players improve and put them in the best situation to have success?’ That’s our job as coaches to do. That’s my mindset.”

Golding enters his second season with Alabama and first as full-time defensive coordinator. He also coaches inside linebackers. Golding returns to a Crimson Tide defense that ranked third nationally in scoring (18.1 ppg) in 2018, was 16th in total defense (319.5 ypg) with a rushing defense ranked 19th nationally (121.3 ypg) and a pass efficiency defense ranked 23rd. Alabama also ranked 10th nationally in sacks per game (3.0).

“Thats the best thing about working for coach Saban that he does. His defenses work and have been successful for a long line,” Golding said. “But he’s still looking in the offseason on how can we get better. What do we need to change? What part of our package did we not do well last year based on the tendencies and what can we change? Lets go find the best way to do it. Lets get in a room and put our thoughts together and when we leave the room we are going to do it.”

Sal Sunseri, like Sarkisian, is in his second stint with Alabama. Sunseri coached outside linebackers from 2009-11 and is back in that role in 2019.

Banks returns as special teams coach and Scott is back to coach defensive backs.

All the rest are first-year guys: Kyle Flood, offensive line; Brian Baker, defensive line; Charles Huff, running backs; Charles Kelly, associate defensive coordinator/safeties; Holmon Wiggins, wide receivers.