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Nick Saban likes Alabama’s new coaching hires, especially Joe Cox with tight ends

Nick Saban claps his hands as Alabama opens 2022 spring practice
Photo comes via Rodger Champion of Alabama Athletics

Nick Saban has appreciated each coaching staff he’s had at Alabama since 2007.

He has had assistants that performed double duties for national championship teams, but Saban appears to like the group he’s assembled to start spring practice. After falling short versus Georgia in the national title game, Saban hired four new on-field assistant coaches.

RELATED: WATCH: Nick Saban press conference after first Alabama spring practice

Alabama brought in Eric Wolford (offensive line), Travaris Robinson (cornerbacks), Coleman Hutzler (special teams coordinator/outside linebackers), and Joe Cox (tight ends). All four are well-respected in the Southeastern Conference and spent time under Will Muschamp at South Carolina. These coaches are excellent recruiters, teachers, and motivators for their positions.

Saban said there is more “balance” on this staff than in recent years.

“We’ve had different blends of staff here,” Saban said Friday on Alabama’s coaching staff.

“We had six coaches on offense, and Mike Locksley walked around so, to have the special teams coach be the tight ends coach gave you five and a half coaches on offense. As the staff transpired, we ended up with an extra coach on defense. We were imbalanced last year. That’s the reason for making the changes we made. If we are going to have a special teams coach on defense, let us at least have five guys that are focused at every position on offense and not have four and a half.”

Saban said it can be overwhelming to have a coach perform two different tasks.

RELATED: WATCH: Alabama football takes the field to open spring practice

He knows the tight end position has changed in college football. Players in that role were once known primarily as blockers, but now they line up everywhere in the formation and make plays. Joe Cox, 35, has the responsibility of getting Alabama’s tight ends to play great football. A native of Charlotte, N.C., Cox excelled with tight ends at Colorado State from 2016-19. He mentored Danny Nwosu (2016), Dalton Fackrell (2017), Cameron Butler (2018), and Tre McBride (2019) to success. Fackrell caught 23 passes for 313 yards and six touchdowns in 2017, while McBride had 45 receptions for 560 yards and four scores in 2019.

Saban said it is necessary for guys at tight end to have more attention, especially with how the role has changed in football.

He likes the mindset Cox brings to the table.

“I think Joe Cox is one of the bright young guys that I have been very impressed with,” Saban said. “I have been impressed with his knowledge, and I think he is going to help us.”

The coaching staff had a good first day, but it will return to action on March 21.

Alabama will be off next week for spring break.

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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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