The University of Alabama’s newest defensive line coach is a name familiar to fans of the teams from the beginning of the millennium.
Freddie Roach, a former UA linebacker from 2002-2005, is joining UA’s staff as its defensive line coach after three years in the same position at Ole Miss. Roach is taking the place of defensive line coach Brian Baker, who after one year in the position will either transition to an off-field role at UA or find a job elsewhere. Baker came to UA after three years as Mississippi State’s defensive line coach.
UA has yet to officially announce Roach’s hire, but Roach was recruiting in Memphis for Alabama on Tuesday.
— Cedric Miller (@BHZKID23) January 21, 2020
Baker was given a challenging task in his lone season in Tuscaloosa: seven of the 13 defensive linemen on the roster were freshmen, and four of those seven freshmen were either starters or significant rotation pieces. Baker had to navigate LaBryan Ray’s injury in the South Carolina game that ultimately kept him out for the entire regular season.
Roach’s first year at Ole Miss was 2017, when Hugh Freeze resigned days before preseason practice began. Matt Luke retained Roach and Lane Kiffin did the same when he took over for Luke, but Roach will now coach against Kiffin instead of for him.
Roach’s coaching career began at UA as a strength and conditioning coach from 2008 to 2010. One-year stints at East Mississippi Community College and Murray State, both as defensive line coach, led him to a two-year stint at South Alabama. He returned to UA as its Director of Player Development for 2015 and 2016 before going to Ole Miss.
In his playing career at Alabama, from 2002-2005, Roach a freshman All-American and two-time All-SEC selection.
Roach is UA’s third defensive line coach in as many seasons, after Baker was hired to replace Craig Kuligowski.
UA did just lose Burton Burns, its assistant athletic director for football, to the New York Giants, freeing up an off-field role for Baker if he so desires.