Alabama Football: New Coordinators & Complementary Football

David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports /

Alabama football has two new coordinators and the opportunity to hit the reset button entering 2023. Bama fan attitudes range from refreshed to distressed, but it should benefit the Crimson Tide to get away from the status quo that simply hasn’t worked over the past two seasons.

Offensive coordinator Tommy Rees and defensive coordinator Kevin Steele are the most important new faces in the Alabama Football facility.

These were hardly the home run hires that some imagined. A large chunk of the fan base had its eyes on big names like Garret Riley or Joe Brady for OC, and Jeremy Pruitt or Glenn Schumann for DC. While no one would have been upset with these hires, the truth is that what looks good on paper is not always what works in practice.

I see the Rees and Steele hires not only as upgrades to their respective individual positions, but also synergistic additions in conjunction with one another. Their styles should work well together, and Alabama football should be able to return to playing complementary football at a championship level.

This is something Bama struggled to achieve in 2021 and 2022. While it had both a good offense and a good defense on paper, the statistics were somewhat deceiving. The units did not work well in coordination, as the Crimson Tide had several games in which only one side of the ball would show up.

In close wins over LSU (2021), Auburn (2021), and Texas A&M (2022), Alabama’s offense was anemic and nearly cost it the game. In losses to Texas A&M (2021) and Tennessee (2022), the defense never got off the bus. Both units failed Alabama in its most recent loss to LSU. Neither was terrible in the 32-31 overtime defeat, but both failed to make plays at the most critical junctures of the game.

Alabama Football: Returning to complementary football

With these new coordinators, the hope is that Alabama can have two reliable units that help each other out and make the Tide very tough to beat. Under the jurisdiction of Rees and Steele, both the offense and the defense figure to be much more physical in 2023.

In my opinion, this lack of physicality has been the primary underlying issue that has plagued Alabama football since its last national title.

Tommy Rees will implement a more balanced offensive attack in Tuscaloosa, and re-instill an emphasis on the running game.

Alabama has the personnel to do it, with some bullies returning on the offensive line and a loaded stable of running backs to boot. Bama also welcomes in a massive 2023 offensive line recruiting class.

This approach will allow the Tide to control the clock and stay on the field longer when necessary. The 2022 offense lacked a power running game, and sometimes struggled to move the chains and sustain drives. If Alabama can establish a reliable ground game under Rees, it will help the defense as well as the offense.

Kevin Steele is an old-school defensive coordinator that seeks to restore the personality of vintage Alabama defenses. Steele takes over an Alabama defense that looked passive and confused at times under Pete Golding.

If he can shift the culture, then there is no limit to how good the Alabama defense can be, as this unit remains loaded with talent. After adding six 5-star recruits on the defensive side of the ball in 2023, the Alabama defense could be as talented as ever this year.

dark. Next. Where will QB competition go?

Oftentimes in college football, having one elite unit and being subpar on the other side of the ball is not enough to win a national championship. Playing good, complementary football is the best way to establish yourself as a championship contender. Alabama’s two new coordinator hires are a good step in the right direction.