Alabama Football News

Sources: Alabama is targeting Drew Svoboda of Memphis to replace Jay Graham as special teams coach

Nick Saban walks the sidelines during Alabama vs Mississippi State
Matt Bush - USA TODAY Sports

Todd Watson is currently filling in to replace Jay Graham at the University of Alabama, but Nick Saban told reporters the Crimson Tide would conduct a coaching search to find a new special teams coordinator.

According to respectable sources, yours truly of Touchdown Alabama Magazine has learned Drew Svoboda of the Memphis Tigers is a name that is being targeted. A native of Tomball, Texas, Svoboda coached for 10 years at Klein Collins High School. He guided the program to five district championships and eight playoff appearances. Svoboda was 93-24 during his tenure as a head coach.

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His 79.5 percent winning percentage was sixth among active Texas 6A head coaches at the end of 2017.

He spent the next three years (2018-20) coaching special teams at Rice University.

Svoboda had four punters — Jack Fox, Chris Barnes, Adam Nunez, and Charlie Mendes — who all averaged 40 yards per attempt. He also had three placekickers — Haden Tobola, Chris Barnes, and Collin Riccitelli — who all made at least 75% of their field goals. Tobola made 10 of 11 kicks in 2018.

Rice was ranked 17th and 14th in college football, respectively, for net punting and punt return defense.

Svoboda had the Owls second in Conference USA with 27 punts downed inside the 20-yard line. Chris Barnes, a former walk-on, made second-team all-conference with his performance in 2019. Rice also had a solid return specialist in Austin Trammel.

He averaged 9.3 yards per punt return and 20 yards per kickoff return in 2019.

Svoboda was hired to Memphis on Jan. 8, but he could be heading to Alabama. Jay Graham resigned from his position last week, due to mental health concerns.

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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.

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