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Did Nick Saban make the right hire in Kevin Steele?

Alabama head coach Nick Saban walks through the tunnel for season opener against Utah State
Photo comes via SEC Media Portal

College football fans say they care about their respective teams and program, and they do, but Alabama fans take their care to a different level.

Crimson Tide supporters want everything to be excellent from the head coach to the equipment managers for the football team.

RELATED: Reggie Ragland says Kevin Steele was ‘the man who believed in me’ while at Alabama

After having questions about the Tommy Rees hire to replace Bill O’Brien as offensive coordinator, questions have emerged about did Nick Saban make the right hire in Kevin Steele for defensive coordinator. Steele, 64, returns to the Crimson Tide for his fourth stint in Tuscaloosa, Ala. He served as a defensive coordinator, defensive head coach, inside linebackers coach, linebackers coach, and director of player personnel. Steele started with Alabama in 2007 and 2008 before leaving. He returned in 2013 and 2014 and left again. Steele has a footprint in the Southeastern Conference as a coach and a former player.

He played linebacker at the University of Tennessee from 1978-79 after transferring from Furman. Steele coached linebackers and defensive backs at Tennessee, served as a defensive assistant at Alabama, coordinated a defense at LSU (2015), and coordinated Auburn’s defense for five seasons (2016-20). He also became an interim head coach at Auburn and Tennessee.

Steele may not be the home run hire, but he transitions the Tide into its potential home run acquisition for a defensive coordinator. He, unlike Pete Golding, is a proven commodity across college football and the National Football League.

RELATED: Breaking: Alabama hires Kevin Steele as its defensive coordinator

Steele has coached every defensive position, except for the defensive line, and has head coaching experience. He will have the Tide playing fast, disciplined, and fierce. The defense looked lost several times under Golding, but that won’t be the case with Steele.

His defenses at Auburn frustrated Alabama’s offense, and he coached the Tigers to victories over Saban in 2017 and 2019.

Steele can also motivate young men to perform at a high level. He is not a young name Saban prefers; however, he is someone the 71-year-old trusts a lot. An NFL team can win a Super Bowl with a B+ quarterback if everyone else around him executes at an A+ level. The same can be said about hiring Steele. Steele was a B+ move, but the talent around him (players and coaches) can assist him in getting Alabama to a College Football Playoff National Championship if it performs at an A+ level. 

Saban made a good hire, but we will not know if it’s the right one until we see how Steele performs.

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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.

Stephen Smith is a 2015 graduate of the University of Alabama. He is a senior writer and reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. He has covered Alabama football for 10+ years and his knowledge and coverage of the Crimson Tide's program have made him among the most respected journalist in his field. Smith has been featured on ESPN and several other marquee outlets as an analyst.

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