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Alabama expected to hire ex-UCF offensive coordinator

Kim Klement - USA TODAY Sports

The formation of Nick Saban’s 2016 coaching staff continues to make headlines.

According to Thayer Evans of Sports Illustrated, the Alabama head coach is expected to hire former Central Florida offensive coordinator and running backs coach Brent Key.

Key, 37, has spent the last 11 season at Central Florida under head coach George O’Leary.

He has served in many positions since 2005, including tight ends coach, special teams coordinator, offensive line coach and assistant head coach on offense. Key stood at the Knights’ top recruiter since 2007. He is regarded as one of the top assistant coaches nationally and was expected to be O’Leary heir apparent. Despite his long tenure with the program, Key was not chosen to be Central Florida’s next head coach.

The Knights ended up paying him $700,000 and in making Scott Frost its new leader, Key was not retain on the staff.

He compiled a 81-59 record in 11 years, with four conference championships and seven bowl appearances. The Knights were explosive offensive in 2013 behind the play of quarterback Blake Bortles, running back Storm Johnson and wide receiver Breshard Perriman. Central Florida went 12-1 that year, capping off its season with a 52-42 win in the 2014 Fiesta Bowl over No. 6-ranked Baylor.

The addition of Key is Saban’s third move, joining the hires of Jeremy Pruitt and Derek Ansley. With Key coaching offensive linemen, some shuffling will be done amongst Mario Cristobal, Bobby Williams and Billy Napier.

Stephen M. Smith is a senior analyst and columnist for Touchdown Alabama MagazineYou can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @ESPN_Future

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