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Jeff Banks to change Alabama’s narrative on special teams for 2018 season

Jim Dedmon - USA TODAY Sports

Nick Saban is starting to hit on two very important positions as the head coach of Alabama football: quarterback and special teams coach. Through his first 11 seasons, the five-time national champion for the Crimson Tide has been inconsistent in both areas since 2007. 

While his landing of Tua Tagovailoa and potential signings of Taulia Tagovailoa and Paul Tyson as signal callers is promising, the hire of Jeff Banks for special teams was an underrated move. 

Banks, and alumnus of Washington State University, spent the last five years (2013-17) under Kevin Sumlin at Texas A&M University – producing one of the top special teams units in the Southeastern Conference and arguably in all of college football. He turned Josh Lambo and Daniel LaCamera into 80 percent field goal kickers and helped the likes of Drew Kazer and Shane Tripuka become standout punters.

Along with its success in kicking, the Aggies blocked at least one punt in five games in 2017 and Christian Kirk had six career punt return touchdowns. 

In Wednesday’s interview with Mark Passwaters, who covers TAMU for, he told yours truly of Touchdown Alabama Magazine that the Tide have the ‘best special teams coach in the nation.’ 

“He schemes brilliantly,” Passwaters said of Banks on In My Own Words. 

“What he did with Kazer, Lambo, LaCamera and Tripuka was just part of the story. When you go back and watch the Arkansas game from last year, the Hogs wanted to back Christian Kirk into a corner to stop him from breaking out. It did a good job of that for three and a half quarters, but then Banks saw something and got his special teams together. He reschemed a punt return in the fourth quarter with 10 minutes to go and Kirk returned it for a touchdown to tie the game.” 

Passwaters described Banks as a “brilliant mind.” 

“He adapts well on the fly and is an outstanding recruiter,” he said. 

The recruiting aspect has caused for Tide fans to smile, as Banks brought in receiver Jaylen Waddle for this year’s class and received a commitment from Will Reichard (place kicker) for the 2019 recruiting cycle. During the spring game back in April, redshirt freshman Joseph Bulovas nailed five of seven field goals – to the surprise of those at Bryant-Denny Stadium. 

Groans from the crowd on missed kicks and mishandled punts were felt from players in recent years, however, the addition of Banks could provide an incredible turn of events. 

Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

Stephen Smith is a 2015 graduate of the University of Alabama. He is a senior writer and reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. He has covered Alabama football for 10+ years and his knowledge and coverage of the Crimson Tide's program have made him among the most respected journalist in his field. Smith has been featured on ESPN and several other marquee outlets as an analyst.

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