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Has Kane Wommack been groomed to take Alabama’s defense back to elite status?

Alabama DC Kane Wommack giving out signals in spring practice for the Crimson Tide.
Kent Gidley - Alabama Athletics

College football is an offensive game now, and Nick Saban saw it for Alabama in 2014.

The University of Alabama made the changes to make itself attractive to top quarterbacks and wide receivers; however, the Crimson Tide’s last stout defensive unit was in 2017.

Tide fans had a program that prided itself on defense under coordinators such as Kirby Smart and Jeremy Pruitt. Both carried an infectious passion that players fed off, and Alabama had a defense under both that no one in college football wanted to mess with.

The excellence dropped under Tosh Lupoi and Pete Golding, but Kevin Steele revved the engine back towards excellence in 2023. 

He coached for one season and announced his retirement, but has the Tide found its coordinator to continue what Steele did and push Alabama back to having an elite defensive unit in the sport?

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Kane Wommack, 36, chose to leave his head coaching position at South Alabama and follow Kalen DeBoer to the Tide. 

His father, Dave, is one of the originators of the 4-2-5 defense.

Wommack appreciates what he learned from his dad, but he also gleaning advice from Saban.

Saban, a long-time defensive guru, operated in the 3-4 nickel scheme on defense.

His way allowed Alabama to win six national championships and nine Southeastern Conference Championships. Wommack has had several meetings with Saban, and both have been impressed by each other.

In an interview with Ryan Fowler, host of The Game with Ryan Fowler on Tide 100.9 FM, Wommack said he has a reverence for how Coach Saban handled everything.

“It was really good,” Wommack said to Fowler about his opportunity to talk with Saban.

“I had never met Coach Saban before, and we talked on the phone a couple of times as soon I got here to get a feel for what we needed to do in recruiting and where his mindset was in how to adjust the defensive personnel from year to year. He brought up a point, and I thought this was really great, he saw each season as a new season. New challenges, new personnel, new coaches, all of those things, and I wanted to make sure I was connecting with him. When we got together, you are sitting there talking football, and that part is very seamless. There are also moments when you are sitting there and there is a reverence in just being in a room with Coach Saban that you feel.”

Wommack has appreciate every minute to pick Saban’s mind and figure out how he can keep Alabama on top defensively.

He had success at South Alabama, but now Wommack has huge talent for the Crimson Tide.

Smart and Pruitt revered Saban, but both had a personality that captivated players. Wommack has a personality too, and it’s one that wants to dominate everyone. 

Alabama fans have been waiting for its defense to be dangerous again. Wommack feels like the guy to get it back there.

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Stephen M. Smith is the 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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