On Friday morning, the retired Nick Saban was still Alabama Football's head coach. On Thursday in between walking around the Alabama Football office facility to thank people for their work, it was reported Nick Saban was still working on recruiting. We don't know if it was just prospective players or potential coaches as well.
There is much we don't know. Almost no one in the world of college football knows anything for sure. A handful of people in Tuscaloosa know and rightly so, all of them are tight-lipped. Greg Byrne gave himself a public goal of 72 hours to announce a new hire. There could not be a more capable person on the task, so hopefully he will succeed.
What follows is what I believe has happened and possibly will happen going forward. I have put many hours into chasing information since 4:00 PM on Wednesday and have come to few conclusions, along with many hunches.
As of late Thursday night, I believe the top candidates are Kalen DeBoer and Mike Norvell. I think Steve Sarkisian was Saban's first choice and while unlikely at this point, Sark cannot be ruled out until he says so. My guess is Texas will never let Alabama outbid them for Sark and Alabama will have a limit.
After that trio come Dabo Swinney, DeMeco Ryans and the field, as in someone almost no one is thinking about. There are many rumors about names in the 'field' and such a hire could happen. At this point, there is no value in speculation.
On the reports of Tommy Rees and Mike Locksley being given interviews, I don't think either man will become a finalist. Both of them deserve to be considered, but I'll take the field in odds before Rees or Locks.
I also do not think it will be Dabo. If it was going to be Swinney, he would have been hired quickly. While I love the idea of bringing DeMeco home from the NFL, I don't see the timing working for him or the University. Mal Moore was able to take five weeks to hire Nick Saban because free agency in college football did not exist. Now, time is a completely different commodity, and the Crimson Tide program has little.
What about Lane Kiffin? He would crawl from Oxford to Tuscaloosa to get the job. He is a tremendous coach, but I don't think he will get that chance.
Friday mid-morning UPDATE: It appears Sarkisian and Texas are close to finishing a contract extension
Alabama Football and Future Championships
Am I worried DeBoer or Norvell are not up to the task of winning championships? I'm not if they have Nick Saban's blessing, and I can't imagine Greg Byrne hiring anyone who doesn't. Am I worried Alabama can't hire a top coach and must settle? I am not, though the next hire might have to grow into becoming a top coach.
In closing, pay no attention to almost every claim about a coach turning Alabama down. Almost none of them will be based on fact.
Friday afternoon UPDATE: Alabama is finalizing a deal to hire Kalen DeBoer