Alabama Football: Lots of changes for the Tide in players and coaches

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 01: Bo Scarbrough
NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 01: Bo Scarbrough /

Time and Nick Saban wait for no one or better stated, nothing. Alabama football quickly experiences personnel changes in players and coaches.

An uncharacteristically ebullient Nick Saban went back to work quickly after the Alabama football national championship. Of course, he did, in Nick’s world ‘happy’ is but a brief reprieve from unwavering diligence.

Nick’s work day on Monday included post-game conversations with seven players considering NFL early entry. Six of them are easy to identify and on Wednesday four, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Da’Ron Payne, Calvin Ridley and Bo Scarbrough announced they were turning pro. Ronnie Harrison has not announced a decision yet. Surprising most Alabama football fans, Damien Harris announced he will return for his senior season. The seventh underclassman referenced but not disclosed by Saban was probably Isaiah Buggs.

While the exits of Crimson Tide underclassmen disappoint most Alabama football fans, the players must make sound business decisions for themselves and their families. The benefit for the 2018 Crimson Tide roster is the extra roster slots. There would not be room for a new 25-player class without some juniors leaving early.

Underclassmen must submit their names to the NFL by January 15th. They have a window in which they can review their preliminary grades provided by NFL teams. If they maintain amateur status during that window, they can choose to remain in school.

Coaching Changes

Nick Saban has two openings for on-field assistant coaches. That number may increase as Mike Locksley is reported to be considering a move to FSU. Throughout the season and particularly since the Iron Bowl, Alabama football fan message boards have been filled with Brian Daboll rumors. Among some fans, a Daboll exit would be welcome. Since Monday night, the pendulum has swung back to more support for him returning.

In terms of a defensive coordinator to replace Jeremy Pruitt, there is considerable conjecture. History shows Nick Saban likes to bring in coordinators from the outside rather than a staff promotion. Many insiders believe Saban will modify that approach and name Tosh Lupoi and new assistant, Pete Golding as Co-Defensive Coordinators. Lupoi already has the ‘co’ title but the distribution of responsibilities between Tosh and Pruitt was not equal.

There has also been chatter that Karl Dunbar would like to return to the NFL. If Locksley and Dunbar move on as Pruitt and Derrick Ansley already have, the 2018 staff will be quite different. In college football being a very good coach is not enough. Being a strong recruiter is almost as important as any coaching duties.

Next: 2017 was Nick's Greatest Achievement

Between players and coaches that is a lot of turnover.  Additional player attrition from transfers or players giving up football happens every offseason. Change is usually good. As long as it does not include Nick Saban or Scott Cochran.