Freddie Roach in Tuscaloosa would do wonders for the “Alabama factor”
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The talk of potentially returning Bo Davis to Alabama football is not dead, but it might be delayed one more year.
According to various reports, Freddie Roach was at the University of Alabama on Monday and he appeared to be interested in the defensive line coaching role.
With the program transitioning Brian Baker to an off-field task, hiring Roach may be exactly what Nick Saban needs to put the “Bama factor” back in line. Sometimes, one just has to be a perfect fit and for the Crimson Tide, Roach would be that fit for the team and the position.
A native of Killen, Ala., Roach had a decorative career at Brooks High School and chose to attend Alabama at a time when its football program was not popular. After redshirting his initial freshman season in 2001, he blossomed in the following year under Dennis Franchoine.
RELATED: Who will be Alabama’s defensive line coach in 2020?
Roach was a National Freshman All-American (FWAA, Sporting News), Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year (Sporting News) and was named Freshman All-SEC in his performance of 63 tackles – including six for loss and one sack.
He would also have five quarterback hurries, one pass breakups, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and one interception returned for a touchdown in the 2002 season.
Just like high school, Roach had an impactful collegiate career. He was twice named second-team All-SEC in 2004 and 2005, while finishing his tenure with 271 tackles. In 2005, he and DeMeco Ryans captained a defense under Mike Shula that stood in the top-10 nationally for all five major categories.
Prior to the sanctions coming in, Alabama concluded the year at 10-2.
Although life in the National Football League was short-lived, Roach returned to school in 2008 and earned his degree in human environmental sciences.
He would then start a successful coaching career, which began at Alabama as an assistant strength coach from 2008-10.
Roach was part of the first national championship (2009) since Gene Stallings in 1992 and parlayed his success into coaching defensive linemen at East Mississippi Community College, South Alabama, Murray State and Ole Miss.
He had a second stint with the Tide from 2015 to 2016 as a director of player development and helped the institution capture two SEC titles and one College Football Playoff National Championship.
It does not get any bigger than growing up in the state of Alabama, attending the legendary school in the state and being part of two national championships on Saban’s coaching staff.
On top of this, Roach is also an elite recruiter.
He greatly improved the talent on each defensive line he coached and won a National Junior College Athletics Association Championship in 2011 with EMCC. At Ole Miss, Roach got the maximum effort from the front line – seeing how it produced 70 percent of the team’s sacks (58.5 out of 84) in his three seasons from 2017 to 2019.
He knows how to relate to today’s youth as Roach has a tight-knit relationship with McKinnley Jackson, a four-star defensive tackle from Lucedale, Miss.
The 6-foot-2, 327-pounder is in the 2020 recruiting cycle and should Roach to Alabama become official, the young man will follow his guy to Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Another piece of the Alabama factor is having former players return to impart wisdom to these young athletes. Saban has had talents such as Geno Matias-Smith, Denzel Devall, Josh Chapman, Javier Arenas, Glenn Coffee, Nick Perry and Vinnie Sunseri all serve as graduate assistants or in some capacity on the staff.
Byron Young, a four-star from Laurel, Miss., is already intrigued by the possibility of having Roach on campus.
The rising sophomore released a thought on Twitter, in wondering if the news is true.
What’s all this I’m hearing ?@freddierch8
— Byron Young (@ByronYoung19) January 21, 2020
Young had 23 tackles in 2019, with 1.5 for loss and one sack. Alabama returns him, Christian Barmore, LaBryan Ray, Justin Eboigbe, DJ Dale, Braylen Ingraham and Stephon Wynn among others to the roster for next season.
To have this much talent around Roach would be major.
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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.