FOOTBALL

Alabama football expected to hire Austin Armstrong as defensive assistant, per reports

Nick Kelly
The Tuscaloosa News

Southern Miss defensive coordinator Austin Armstrong is expected to join the Alabama football on-field defensive staff, according to a report from ESPN.

Armstrong has spent the past two seasons coordinating Southern Miss' defense as one of the youngest coordinators in the country. Included on his resume is a brief stint in the SEC, working as a defensive quality control coach at Georgia under Kirby Smart in 2019.

The role is not specified by ESPN for what Armstrong will be filling on Alabama's staff, but there is a vacancy on defense after associate defensive coordinator and safeties coach Charles Kelly left to join Deion Sanders at Colorado.

There's also a defensive coordinator opening. The report on Armstrong emerged on a busy Friday for Alabama coaching news. The same day, there were also reports that Alabama defensive coordinator Pete Golding would be leaving to take the same job at Ole Miss.

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In Armstrong's first season taking over the Golden Eagles defense in 2021, it improved 18 spots in total defense, to No. 42 nationally, allowing 385.5 yards per game. This past season, Southern Miss finished No. 59 in the country, allowing 372.2 yards per game.

The 2022 defense Armstrong led, however, was No. 5 among FBS teams in sacks, averaging 3.38 per game.

Before Armstrong joined Southern Miss, he was the inside linebackers coach at Louisiana. He had previously been a defensive graduate assistant there before he spent the year at Georgia.

Armstrong's other defensive coaching experience was as an assistant defensive line coach at West Georgia, a Division II school, in 2016.

He graduated from Huntingdon College in Montgomery in 2014. Armstrong played linebacker there for four seasons.

Nick Kelly covers Alabama football and men's basketball for The Tuscaloosa News/USA TODAY Network. Reach him via email: nkelly@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter: @_NickKelly.