Last Monday, Alabama won a national title. Since that time it’s been fast-paced and a little hectic inside the Mal Moore Building, which houses the football offices. In other words, Nick Saban has not been content to bask in the afterglow of the title. It’s quite the opposite actually. Saban has been driven since that time, interviewing and meeting with coach after coach after coach as he remakes the Alabama coaching staff. Here is the latest.
Earlier this week, I reported that former Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze had been in Tuscaloosa and at UA to meet with Saban. Saban respects Freeze’s offensive mind, and given the fact Ole Miss gave Alabama fits during Freeze’s tenure it’s easy to see why. So what would Freeze’s role be if Saban hired him? It’s a great question and one that, as of Tuesday morning, hadn’t been settled upon yet. Saban is really pushing for Freeze to be an on-the-field coach, The Tuscaloosa News has learned. Others in the program don’t want that happening. How much autonomy Saban has in this particular situation is unknown given Freeze’s recent history with the NCAA. Another aspect to this is that should Alabama decided to hire Freeze as an on-the-field coach, it would likely need the blessing of SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey. Sankey isn’t keen on that happening, The Tuscaloosa News has learned. At the moment, Mike Locksley appears to be in good position to land the offensive coordinator job, but nothing is certain. Normally the offensive coordinator works with the quarterbacks. Locksley is currently the wide receivers coach. As you can see, there are lots of moving parts at the moment and that speaks to how much Saban wants to or is open to shaking up the staff. Chris Weinke could be a candidate to coach wide receivers or quarterbacks should he get an on-the-field position. Freeze could do either, too, if he gets the nod. Freeze could also end up as an analyst, which is what most people are speculating as the most likely result. Again, right now things are moving quickly and nothing is decided.
Tight ends/special teams coach Joe Pannunzio will be moving to an off-the-field position, The Tuscaloosa News has learned. Pannunzio has been out on the recruiting trail this week, but I’m told this move is going to happen. Alabama has hired former Texas A&M coach Jeff Banks to be the special teams coach. Karl Scott, an assistant coach at Louisiana-Lafayette, has interviewed for a position on the defense. (AL.com was first to report this Tuesday morning). That hire is not official as of the moment, but it could be at some point during the day.
Shaking it up
As I previously reported, Saban wasn’t content to go into another season with the status quo. Recruiting is driving most of these decisions. Saban wants assistant coaches who will work hard to continue to bring the best talent in the country to Tuscaloosa. With recent SEC coaching changes, the competition for that talent is getting cutthroat. This is one of the most tumultuous offseasons I can remember during the Saban era in terms of the coaching staff. It’s moving fast and furious. And it’s not over yet.