It has been a whirlwind of a week for the Alabama football program. With the hiring of Kalen Deboer a new era has begun in Tuscaloosa. There were only 49 hours between Coach Saban retiring and the announcement of Deboer agreeing to become the 29th coach of the Crimson Tide. For the fans, it seemed an eternity.
The biggest decision is out of the way, but many important decisions remain as current players as well as recruits decide whether or not they want to continue their journey in Tuscaloosa. After listening to his introduction speech Saturday afternoon, it seems Coach Deboer has a personality that players will be drawn to. Naturally, there will be some turnover, as there is with any major coaching change in college football, but I don't think it will be as devastating as some fans think.
Who Coach Deboer puts on his staff will be one the biggest factors with who stays and who goes, especially on the defensive side of the ball. With the loss of Coach T-Rob to Georgia these decisions become even more important, especially with how great of a recruiter he was while part of the Alabama staff. For the current defensive players, it is imperative to try and keep current defensive line coach Freddie Roach and linebackers coach Robert Bala. it will also be very interesting to see if Coach Deboer can bring his offensive coordinator from Washington, Ryan Grubb, to Tuscaloosa. We all know Grubb was the number-one choice to replace Bill O'Brien before this past season. I'm sure Washington will do all they can to keep him in Seattle, as they face their own head coach and conference transition in 2024.
Some are skeptical of the Deboer hire since he has no direct connection to the SEC or the South. Some say he isn't a great recruiter. I counter by saying it is much easier to sell the Alabama program to possible recruits over anywhere he has coached before. The last 15 years of on-field success, as well as the amount of NFL players Alabama has produced speaks for itself. Also, Coach Deboer seems to be a master in the transfer portal which was a key factor in turning Washington from a down program into a championship contender. Naturally, some people are going to be skeptical of the next guy who replaces a legend. But with where Coach Saban currently has the program, and the potential that Coach Deboer brings to Tuscaloosa, there won't be dark days as there were with previous head coaching changes. I am excited about what the future will be but remind the always-tough Alabama fanbase to be patient during this transition.