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Best Guess on Who Takes Smart’s Job at Alabama

Mel Tucker is the odds on choice to take Kirby Smart's position. Photo - Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Best Guess on Who Takes Smart’s Job at Alabama

By: Larry Burton

Saban likes coaches who can recruit, but mostly he likes to work with people he knows and who have experience with college and the pros. Look for Saban to choose someone that fits that bill and one who does is Alabama’s defensive back coach, Mel Tucker.

For those fans not familiar with the 43 year old Tucker, let me give you the quick resume. He played defensive back in college at Wisconsin, did graduate assistant work with Saban while he was head coach of Michigan State. Then went to Miami (Ohio) to serve one year as defensive backs coach, then Saban called him down to LSU where he stayed for one year. He was lured away by Jim Tressel to Ohio State where he went as defensive back coach to start with, but quickly became the co-defensive coordinator.

Then the pros came calling. After four years at Ohio State, he did two years at the Cleveland Browns as a defensive backs coach, then was named defensive coordinator. Then he went to the Jacksonville Jaguars for four years, starting as defensive coordinator and then one year as assistant head coach being added to his coordinator title. Then he did two years as defensive coordinator for the Chicago Bears before coming to Alabama.

So if you want a guy the players now know and really respect, with a ton of experience as a coordinator, by the way, much more than Smart had, plus a guy who can recruit, then Saban may have to simply walk down the hall and tap Tucker for the job. Alabama fans can be comforted to know that he is capable of doing a top rate job right from the beginning as all the current and many of the future signees already know Tucker and what he brings to the team and they like it.

Not only would this be a great hire for Alabama, it would also be one that is the least disruptive. Just in case Alabama fans have forgotten, Kirby Smart moved from the defensive back coach to coordinator at Alabama, so Tucker would just be following in those same footsteps. In all, a Tucker hire just makes the most sense.

Larry has been published in almost every media outlet for college sports and now primarily writes here for Touchdown Alabama. Follow Larry on Twitter for inside thoughts and game time comments at


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Larry Burton is a member of the Football Writers of America Association (FWAA) and was the most read SEC and Alabama football writer during his time at Bleacher Report. He has been credentialed by all the major bowls and the University of Alabama. Larry provides some of the best insight in the business through his "Larry's Lowdown" segment with TDA.


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