If one was to take a poll on Pete Golding’s popularity at the University of Alabama, there would be a lot of mixed reviews.
For those who crave perfection and nothing less, they want nothing to do with Golding as the Crimson Tide’s defensive coordinator. As much as fans love and cherish Tua Tagovailoa, they have the mindset of steel plant workers and coal miners.
Alabama fans are moved by defense and not just any defense, a soul-crushing one that leaves opposition helpless.
It did not finish the 2019 season as bad as people claim; however, the Tide did not have consistent production as a unit on defense.
Some players made improvements each week, yet Nick Saban’s bunch allowed 18.8 points per game (overall) and surrendered 203 total points to Southeastern Conference opponents – both of which were career lows.
On top of this, there were countless moments in which fans saw players not knowing where to line up in certain situations.
Xavier McKinney performed triple duty last year, in having to communicate calls across the board, direct players to the right spot, and get back to his safety position to make plays. These issues frustrated the fans that were used to seeing Alabama as a well-oiled machine on defense.
When it comes to the other half of Tide nation, it understands there are things that factor into troublesome circumstances.
In terms of Golding, he entered the situations with critical injuries hurting the roster. His two leaders at inside linebacker – Dylan Moses and Joshua McMillon – sustained season-ending mishaps in August camp. With the Tide being thin at both spots, Golding had to immediately work to train two true freshmen at the center of the group.
At times, there are those who feel like every four and five-star freshman should be able to quickly grasp the system and be just as good as the juniors and seniors.
However, this is not always the case.
Experience is a big deal, especially in a Saban-coached defense. One cannot expect a freshman to perform like a senior, and what makes it more difficult is when the player you want affirmation from is just as young as you are. Shane Lee and Christian Harris had to grow week by week and per Saban, it was Golding who had the patience to help them.
According to Chris Breece, a sports director/anchor for CBS 42, he’s being told that Alabama will retain Golding for next season.
— Chris Breece (@ChrisBreece) January 20, 2020
A big difference lies between playing freshmen because they are that good versus playing them out of necessity.
The Tide was forced to play younger guys, due to not having the trust in other players on the roster. Eight to nine true freshmen saw action on defense in 2019 and not only was it a learning curve for them, it was a point of growth for Golding too.
With the returns of Moses, McMillon, LaBryan Ray and DJ Dale, Alabama will enter spring practice with a healthy roster.
For Saban, he likes to look at the entire situation in evaluating coaches.
He’s taken injuries and playing more freshmen than usual into action, in addressing Golding.
As he continues to finish up his recruiting assignment, it looks as though the Louisiana native will remain with the team.
Upon the conclusion of National Signing Day, which is Wednesday, Feb. 5, we shall see what happens.
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