Some Alabama football fans are willing to put up some “Do Not Enter” signs when they come to Tuscaloosa. Some options mentioned for Defensive Coordinator and Offensive Coordinator will draw the ire of some Tide fans.
There is an issue with attaching the sign with a potential candidate. He’s already in Tuscaloosa. Traditionally, a coach with a lot of experience would have an advantage. In the case of Todd Grantham, it works against him. As of 2010, Grantham has served as defensive coordinator or co-DC in Georgia, Louisville, Mississippi State and Florida. Once considered the top defensive coach in Starkville and again in Gainesville, Grantham’s plans and play-calling have been called obsolete. He came to Tuscaloosa in 2022, like many before him, to rehabilitate his career.
If Nick Saban named Grantham DC, some Tide fans would demand Pete Golding be hired back — immediately.
Loud football fans from Alabama want Jeremy Pruitt or Glenn Schumann or Jim Leonhard. Less vocal fans are likely to be happy with whatever DC take Nick Saban chooses, although that premise would be challenged if the choice were Grantham.
Next Alabama Football Offensive Coordinator
Crimson Tide fans are divided when it comes to Tide’s next offensive coordinator. Some prefer former Mississippi State and Florida head coach Dan Mullen. But other Tide fans would use the “Do Not Enter” signs for Mullen.
The most recent name associated with the opening of the Alabama Football Offensive Coordinator is Oklahoma OC Jeff Lebby. Lebby’s transition from a Sooners player to a collegiate coach began as a student coach in Norman and moved to Waco during Art Briles’ tenure at Baylor. After several seasons, Lebby joined UCF in 2018 as QB coach. For the 2019 season, he turned UCF, OC before moving to Ole Miss to work with Lane Kiffin for two seasons.
In his major college coaching jobs, Lebby has been able to learn from Briles, Jim Grtobe, Josh Heupel, Lane Kiffin and, this season, Brent Venables. There are rumors that both Venables and Lebby prefer not to train together in 2023.
Many Alabama fans were excited when ESPN’s Pete Thamel said on the Paul Finebaum Show that he had heard Lebby’s name mentioned at the opening of Alabama.
Not every Crimson Tide fan thinks Lebby is a good choice. They point out that he ran the offenses of other coaches at UCF and Ole Miss and was never the sole offensive game caller until the Oklahoma job. On the other hand, for Nick Saban, knowing Lane Kiffin’s offense well must be a plus for Lebby. Lebby’s naysayers add that the 2022 Oklahoma offense, which was entirely Lebby’s cause, was pretty average for a conference where defense is often an afterthought.
There is also Cliff Kingsbury. Pro-Kingsbury crowds are convinced he would be a home run clerk. Others doubt Kingsbury would chafe under the pressures of leading Nick Saban’s Alabama offense. Another complaint about Kingbury is that he was 35-40 as a college head coach at Texas Tech.
One name that gets mentioned, but not often enough for some of us, is Philadelphia QB coach Brian Johnson. With Johnson coaching Jalen Hurts, the Eagles’ offense has been outstanding. If Saban Johnson calls in, Tuscaloosa will be littered with “Welcome” signs.
In the end, Alabama fans will likely welcome Nick Saban’s two picks with open arms — and maybe open minds, too.