Alabama Football: Will Nick continue rehab program with Hugh Freeze?

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Odds are high Nick Saban will add Hugh Freeze to the Alabama football staff in some capacity. Saban does not shy away from rehabbing coaches. Should he do it again?

Hugh Freeze has baggage. A lot of baggage. None of which seems to matter to Alabama football coach Nick Saban. Nick wants to add Freeze to the Alabama football staff. When was the last time, Nick did not get what he wanted in Tuscaloosa? Never is the correct answer.

Freeze’s professional reputation is badly tarnished by the NCAA-imposed sanctions of Ole Miss. As that saga played out, his personal reputation took a big hit as well. A man who probably used escort services either for himself or others would be a deal-breaker at many schools. The SEC appears to not want Freeze in the league. There are reports of Missouri and LSU being interested in Freeze before Alabama and being dissuaded by the SEC.

Why Ole Miss fired Hugh Freeze

Ole Miss did not fire freeze for NCAA violations. In fact, the most serious claims against Freeze were not substantiated by the NCAA. He did not receive a ‘show-cause’ penalty. Ole Miss said they fired Freeze for other reasons. The escort escapade was not listed as a reason by Ole Miss. Instead, Ole Miss stated, in a purposely vague manner,

"In our analysis, we discovered a pattern of conduct that is not consistent with our expectations as the leader of our football program. As of yesterday, there appeared to be a concerning pattern."

According to Aaron Suttles of the Tuscaloosa News, “others in the (Alabama) program don’t want that (the Freeze hire) happening.” Without knowing who those others are, we suspect only AD Greg Byrne and University of Alabama President Stuart Bell could override Nick’s intention.

Why would Nick Saban risk damaging the reputation of the University of Alabama? Aaron Suttles has the answer.

"Saban respects Freeze’s offensive mind, and given the fact Ole Miss gave Alabama fits during Freeze’s tenure…"

One of the Ole Miss offensive minds was on the Tide staff. Offensive analyst, Dan Werner was recently hired as QB coach by Will Muschamp at South Carolina. Some insiders believe the potent, Ole Miss offensive architect was much more Freeze than Werner.

Saban wants Freeze as an on-field coach

The most repeated rumor is that Saban will not hesitate to hire Freeze in an off-field capacity. The offensive analysts can recruit on campus but they are not allowed to recruit elsewhere. That would solve the problem of Hugh having to answer escort questions during a recruiting in-home visit. There are strong indications, Saban will take all the Freeze downside and make him an on-field coach. Perhaps, Nick believes his expected new offensive coordinator, Mike Locksley needs Hugh’s help beyond offensive analysis.

Even after the last two Saban rehab projects (Kiffin and Sarkisian) did not work out perfectly, Nick is apparently undeterred. Publically passing judgment on human frailties is too often engaged. Hugh Freeze is entitled to seek redemption. And Nick Saban is entitled to make Tuscaloosa the place for Freeze to do so.

Next: The Hugh Freeze Lesson

Last summer we published the story highlighted above. It is a Hugh Freeze story and more. It is about the ‘cult of personality’ pervasive in the sports world, particularly in college football. Reading it now could add some perspective on the current Hugh Freeze consternation.