Tuscaloosa’s New Faces

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TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 04: Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide looks on during the final minutes of their 24-10 win over the LSU Tigers at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 4, 2017 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Tuscaloosa’s New Faces

When you’re the best in the business, everyone else wants what you have. There’s no exception to this rule even for Alabama head coach Nick Saban and his Crimson Tide. Saban puts assistant coaches into head coaching positions like teams put players into the NFL, figuratively speaking. In all seriousness though, Saban’s coaching tree is down right impressive. Nine assistants have been head coaches after working for Saban with six of them being current head coaches, not to mention the numerous amounts of assistant coaches who get better jobs after working for Saban. The 2018 coaching staff has changed in all except for three positions. With all of the turnover, how does he continue to put a championship caliber team on the field every year? For this answer, meet Tuscaloosa’s new faces.

Offensive Coaches

In order to continue to have a high-powered offense, a coach must choose some high-powered coaches. On offense, two coaches are no longer with the Tide and two have new roles and only one, offensive line coach Brent Key, stayed the same. Here is a look at who is gone and who has new roles.

                The Departed

  • Burton Burns – Associate head coach and running backs coach. Burns has been at Alabama for 11 years and has produced some of the greatest running backs the program has ever seen. He is now the Assistant Athletics Director for Football at the University of Alabama.
  • Brian Daboll – Offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. After only one year at Alabama, Daboll has gone back to the NFL as the offensive coordinator for the Buffalo Bills.

               New Roles

  • Mike Locksley – Offensive coordinator. In 2017, Locksley was the co-offensive coordinator and wide-receivers coach. The 2018 season will be his third season with the Tide.
  • Joe Pannunzio – Running back coach. Pannunzio was the tight end coach and special teams coordinator in 2017. This season will be his second at Alabama.

             The Replacements

  • Dan Enos – Associate head coach and quarterbacks coach. Enos has 23 years of experience as an assistant coach and spent five seasons as the head coach at Central Michigan. He has coached quarterbacks, wide-receivers and running backs and has eight years of experience in the role of the offensive coordinator. The programs that he has coached for are:
  1. Lakeland
  2. Northern Michigan
  3. Southern Illinois
  4. Missouri State
  5. Western Michigan
  6. North Dakota State
  7. Cincinnati
  8. Michigan State
  9. Central Michigan
  10. Arkansas
  • Josh Gattis – Co-offensive coordinator and wide-receivers coach. This 34-year-old former NFL safety is an up and coming young coach with a short, but already impressive resume. He has eight years of experience as a wide-receivers coach. The programs that he has coached for are:
  1. North Carolina
  2. Western Michigan
  3. Vanderbilt
  4. Penn State
  • Jeff Banks – Special teams coordinator and tight end coach. Banks’ 20 years of experience is a big plus for the Alabama special teams. Especially with the state of the kicking game at the end of the 2017 season. His coaching stops are:
  1. Washington St.
  2. Idaho St.
  3. UTEP
  4. Virginia
  5. Texas A&M

Defensive Coaches

Alabama has always relied heavily on the defense. In 2017, Alabama again had the number one ranked defense allowing only 3.99 yards per play, 18 touchdowns and 260.4 yards per game. With three defensive coaches gone and one who has changed roles, it will be interesting to see how things go this season. Here are the changes for 2018.

                The Departed

  • Jeremy Pruitt – Defensive coordinator and inside linebackers coach. Pruitt has consistently put the NCAA’s best defenses on the field no matter where he has been. With his move to the head coaching job at Tennessee, his absence is sure to be felt in Tuscaloosa.
  • Derrick Ansley – Defensive backs. After spending 13 seasons at the college level with two of those being at Alabama, Ansley takes his skill to the NFL. For the 2018 season he will be the defensive backs coach for the Oakland Raiders.
  • Karl Dunbar – Defensive line coach. After spending two seasons at Alabama, Dunbar is another coach who has decided to take their coaching skills to the NFL. He will be the Pittsburgh Steelers’ defensive line coach for the 2018 season.

              New Roles

  • Tosh Lupoi – Defensive coordinator and outside linebackers coach. This will be Lupoi’s fourth season with the Crimson Tide and he will have some big shoes to fill as he replaces Jeremy Pruitt as the defensive coordinator.

            The Replacements

  • Pete Golding – Co-defensive coordinator and inside linebackers coach. Having spent all except two seasons in Division II, Golding is a somewhat surprise hire for Saban. He has 12 years of experience with nine of those years spent being a Defensive Coordinator. Here are his coaching stops:
  1. Delta State
  2. Tusculum College
  3. Southeastern Louisiana
  4. Southern Miss
  5. University of Texas – San Antonio
  • Craig Kuligowski – Associate head coach and defensive line coach. This former Toledo Rocket and former Nick Saban player reunites with his old coach after 28 years. He began coaching in 1992 and Alabama is his fourth stop along the way. He has been a recruiting coordinator, tight ends coach and defensive line coach. His other coaching duties have been at:
  1. Toledo
  2. Missouri
  3. Miami (FL)
  • Karl Scott – Defensive backs coach. Scott has perhaps the biggest task of all of the coaches for Alabama. He has five starters to replace who left for the NFL after last season, but he’s in familiar territory though. He coached with the newly hired co-defensive coordinator, Pete Golding at Southeastern Louisiana and Tusculum. The programs that he has coached for are:
  1. Delta St.
  2. Tusculum
  3. Southeastern Louisiana
  4. Louisiana Tech
  5. Texas Tech
  6. Louisiana-Lafayette

The Head Coach

Entering his 12th season as the Head Coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide, Nick Saban seems to have done it again. The amount of coaching turnover that he has is unmatched by any other program in the country. Yet, Saban seems to have a knack for finding coaching talent, giving them an opportunity and getting the absolute best out of them. Who wouldn’t want to go coach with one of the greatest college football coaches of all time?

There are a lot of new faces that will be on the sidelines this season, but there is no reason to think that Saban won’t be adding his seventh National Championship. With six championships at Alabama, should the Tide win it all this season, Saban will pass Paul “Bear” Bryant for the most championships won at Alabama. The greatest part about Saban is that he will remain humble and direct all praise back to his team and coaches. That’s what great coaches are all about.

Main Photo Credit:

File Photo: Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

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