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Who is Austin Armstrong? Alabama’s new defensive coach

Alabama head coach Nick Saban and the Tide take the field for 2022 matchup against LSU
Photo comes via SEC Media Portal

A public announcement should come soon on Alabama football’s latest defensive coaching hire, but social media makes it appear that we have a done deal. 

Sources confirmed to Touchdown Alabama Magazine that Austin Armstrong would be a defensive position coach on Nick Saban’s staff. Several reports came afterward on him being expected to join the Crimson Tide. He is now on campus helping in recruiting, and his Twitter profile photo has the scripted “A” logo on it. Armstrong comes over as a young, innovative defensive coordinator from the University of Southern Mississippi.

RELATED: Alabama football has a new name in defensive coordinator conversation

He will coach inside linebackers for the Tide after having success improving the position at Southern Miss. Armstrong played linebacker for Huntingdon College in Montgomery (Ala.) for four years. After his time with the Hawks and earning his bachelor’s degree in 2014, he started his coaching career as an assistant with defensive linemen at Division II West Georgia in 2016.

He started rising as a coach during two years as a defensive graduate assistant for the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns in 2017 and 2018.

Armstrong helped former Saban assistant Billy Napier take Louisiana to a share of the Sun Belt West Division title in 2018.

The Ragin’ Cajuns made it to the Sun Belt Championship Game in Napier’s first season. Armstrong assisted the team to a berth in the AutoNation Cure Bowl in Orlando, Fla. He decided to learn from another former Saban assistant in 2019 as Armstrong took his talents to the University of Georgia and learned under Kirby Smart as a defensive quality control coach.

He helped Smart’s group pitch three shutouts that year as the Bulldogs allowed 12.6 points per game. Georgia finished the season at 12-2, capturing a 26-14 victory over Baylor in the Allstate Sugar Bowl. He returned to the Ragin’ Cajuns in 2020, helping it to a 10-1 season in a COVID-shorten year. Louisiana’s defense forced seven fumbles and had 16 interceptions, including four from safety Bralen Trahan. Armstrong has spent the last two years with Southern Miss’ “Nasty Bunch” defense. He quickly turned the program around into a formidable group. Santrell Latham, Hayes Maples, Daylen Gill, and Averie Habas have benefited as linebackers from having Armstrong. The Golden Eagles finished in the top five nationally for sacks (44) in 2022. He has learned from Smart, Dan Lanning, Glenn Schumann, and Napier. Three of his four teachers come from the Saban coaching tree. 

Alabama may be in good hands with the fast-rising Armstrong.

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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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