As the National Championship was set to kick off there was some breaking news for the Alabama Football team as defensive coordinator Kevin Steele retired from coaching. Steele coached one season for the Alabama Football team in his third stint with the program this time replacing Pete Golding. Steele led one of the Nation's top defenses in 2023 and his halftime adjustments became a vital part of the team's success holding multiple teams to one score or less in the second half.
The question now will be who the Alabama Football program picks to replace the veteran defensive coordinator. The strongest candidate comes from inside the Alabama Football program with Travaris Robinson the team's current cornerbacks coach. Under Robinson cornerbacks Kool-Aid McKinstry and Terrion Arnold developed into future first-round picks. Robinson even drew speculation from Lane Kiffin when the Rebel's coach told the media he believed Robinson was calling the Alabama Defense earlier in the season.
Travaris Robinson comes with defensive coordinator experience as well as leading the South Carolina Gamecocks defensively from 2015 to 2020. The timing of Steele's retirement couldn't have come at a better time for Robinson as his contract ran from 2022 to 2024 meaning he's due for an extension and has leverage for the job. Keeping Robinson will be vital for Nick Saban and the Alabama Football program as he's done excellent in coaching the defensive backs and also served a vital role in recruiting playing a massive role in landing Ryan Williams, Zavier Mincey, Jaylen Mbakwe, Jameer Grimsley, and Aeryn Hampton.
Another internal option will be defensive line coach Freddie Roach the former Alabama Football player turned Nick Saban assistant. Roach has been a part of Nick Saban's staff for four National Championships in three different stints on the coaching staff. While Roach has had more success as a recruiter than Robinson, he's never been a defensive coordinator at the college level.
The final name worth mentioning is former Alabama Football defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt. Pruitt was a leading candidate for the job in 2023 but, due to NCAA punishments stemming from his NCAA infractions at Tennessee, he was not hired for the role. Pruitt was given a six-year show cause from the NCAA meaning if the Alabama Football program were to hire Pruitt, he would be suspended for his first season on the job unless the NCAA revisited his case. It's unlikely that Saban will hire Pruitt with his disgraced ending at Tennessee but, he may be hired in an analyst capacity.
Alabama Football: Defensive coordinator role will be filled internally
The belief has to be that Nick Saban will fill the defensive coordinator role internally despite how attractive the role will be for outsiders. Saban has seemingly been grooming Robinson for a bigger role within the program and an opportunity to make him the defensive coordinator may be the next step in Robinson's development. Hiring an outsider like Pruitt over Robinson or even Freddie Roach would most likely push Robinson toward another program as he'll be an attractive option for coaching jobs across the country. The value added from hiring an outsider wouldn't outweigh how much it would hurt the Alabama Football program to lose Roach or Robinson meaning this job will likely be filled by Robinson.