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Charles Kelly has to put Alabama’s secondary back in order

In being hired as associate defensive coordinator and safeties coach for the University of Alabama football program, Charles Kelly has the task of getting the Crimson Tide’s secondary back to the elite play it had from 2015-17.

It had its worst season last year since 2014, finishing 23rd in the nation for pass efficiency defense (115.8 passer rating allowed) while the defense as a whole was No. 12 in points allowed (18.1 ppg) and No. 16 in yards allowed (319.5 ypg). 

Despite recording 14 interceptions in 2018, the Tide faltered in the postseason as its defensive backfield struggled against Georgia, Oklahoma and Clemson. Tigers’ quarterback Trevor Lawrence torched Alabama for 347 passing yards and three touchdowns in Clemson’s 44-16 blowout win to open 2019 in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game. 

RELATED: Kicking game, special teams ahead of curve at Alabama for 2019

Prior to last year, Nick Saban’s back five had a create a “No Fly Zone” moniker. 

In all five national titles under Saban, the prize was earned due to the play of the secondary. With the returns of Xavier McKinney, Shyheim Carter, Patrick Surtain II, Trevon Diggs and Jared Mayden among others to this group, Kelly anticipates mentoring guys that are ready for a bounce back year.

He did wonders at Florida State with Derwin James, Jalen Ramsey and Lamarcus Joyner, and we shall see what he can put together next fall at Tuscaloosa, Ala. Over the weekend, Stephen Smith of Touchdown Alabama Magazine discussed Kelly’s success with DB’s on In My Own Words and why he is the most influential assistant for 2019.  

You can also listen to the audio version of the podcast via SoundCloud.  

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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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