Touchdown Alabama https://tdalabamamag.com Alabama's Premier Football Website Tue, 25 Feb 2020 04:36:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.3.2 135213907 Could Alabama pull Aaron Feld from Oregon to replace Scott Cochran? https://tdalabamamag.com/2020/02/24/could-alabama-pull-aaron-feld-from-oregon-to-replace-scott-cochran/ Tue, 25 Feb 2020 04:28:50 +0000 https://tdalabamamag.com/?p=74805 Since the news of Scott Cochran leaving Alabama for Georgia hit social media, there has been a frenzy of concern on the faces of fans, current players and former players.   He was not allowed to say goodbye to the team and the question is who will Nick Saban hire as the replacement. After being around […]]]>

Since the news of Scott Cochran leaving Alabama for Georgia hit social media, there has been a frenzy of concern on the faces of fans, current players and former players.  

He was not allowed to say goodbye to the team and the question is who will Nick Saban hire as the replacement.

After being around for six national titles and five conference championships, one cannot simply replace the impact Cochran had.

However, there are a few names in the conversation that would keep the Crimson Tide moving forward. Aaron Feld of the Oregon Ducks is one of those names. 

He’s been the head strength and conditioning coach for Oregon in the last two seasons – helping the program earn 12 wins in 2019 and a Rose Bowl title. Feld conditioned its offense to an average of 35.4 points a game, while its defense allowed 16.5 points per matchup.

Not only does he have Mario Cristobal building something special, but Oregon may also make the College Football Playoff next season.

Prior to Oregon, Feld was an assistant director of strength and conditioning at Georgia (2015-17) and he was the head strength coach at North Alabama (2014-15). 

At Georgia, Feld was a critical part of its 2017 group getting to the CFP National Championship Game. He was a volunteer strength coach at Alabama from 2013 to 2014. 

During his two years, he assisted the Tide to a Southeastern Conference Championship and its first appearance in the inaugural CFP.

Feld positioned AJ McCarron to be a Heisman runner-up in 2013 and helped Blake Sims secure the school’s single-season passing record (3,487 yards) at the time.  

Nothing has been confirmed yet, but Feld’s name is floating around as an option. 

He is a native of Homewood, Ala.

Stay tuned to tdalabamamag.com as we continuing updating this story.  

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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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Former Alabama WR says Saban ‘isn’t God’ in a rant on Twitter https://tdalabamamag.com/2020/02/24/former-alabama-wr-says-saban-isnt-god-in-a-rant-on-twitter/ Tue, 25 Feb 2020 03:43:56 +0000 https://tdalabamamag.com/?p=74801 He is hurt by the news of Scott Cochran leaving Alabama for Georgia and it’s okay.  For Marquise Maze, the Birmingham (Ala.) native played at receiver from 2007 to 2011 for the Crimson Tide under Nick Saban. He was on two BCS National Championship teams and had a close relationship with Cochran. As the program’s […]]]>

He is hurt by the news of Scott Cochran leaving Alabama for Georgia and it’s okay. 

For Marquise Maze, the Birmingham (Ala.) native played at receiver from 2007 to 2011 for the Crimson Tide under Nick Saban. He was on two BCS National Championship teams and had a close relationship with Cochran.

As the program’s strength and conditioning coach, Cochran pushed Maze into being the team’s leading receiver and return specialist in the 2011 season. 

While some Tide fans do not see Cochran’s departure as a big deal, Maze along with other former players view as a marquee loss.

As an individual speaking his truth, Maze tried to get fans to understand it takes more than Nick Saban to build a program. However, when you are dealing with those who idolize him, this is not an easy task.

RELATED: Nick Saban releases statement on the departure of Scott Cochran

The mindset of fans and media personalities is Alabama football will remain dominant, as long as Saban is at the helm. 

People continued to come at Maze on social media and it led to him starting the ‘Saban isn’t God’ rant on Twitter.

To support Maze’s claim on it takes more than Saban to build a program, the Alabama head football coach does not see the players every day.

He is busy recruiting, in meetings, in interviews and doing other things from a CEO perspective.

The position coaches probably don’t see their players every day, but Cochran held the keys to the weight room. 

Cochran saw the players every day and he was available to talk with them about anything. 

He had some interesting antics, but he had a way of connecting with young man to where they trusted him. When it comes to some players, it was a probably a thing where they didn’t feel comfortable talking to Saban and Cochran was someone that kept the locker room good. 

Whatever the case might have been, Maze was not happy with people making light of Cochran’s choice to leave and his decision to defend him.

Cochran will be missed and Maze was a great player while he was at the program.

Hopefully, the Tide will find its next strength coach soon. 

*Get the BEST Alabama football insider information, message board access, and recruiting coverage today! SIGN UP HERE to unlock our subscriber only content!*

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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Nick Saban releases statement on the departure of Scott Cochran https://tdalabamamag.com/2020/02/24/nick-saban-releases-statement-on-the-departure-of-scott-cochran/ Mon, 24 Feb 2020 23:50:10 +0000 https://tdalabamamag.com/?p=74796 Whatever slim chance there was that Scott Cochran would change his mind and return to Alabama is officially squashed as his move to the Georgia coaching staff if official. Georgia announced via Twitter that it had brought on the former strength and conditioning coach of the Crimson Tide and that his new role would be […]]]>

Whatever slim chance there was that Scott Cochran would change his mind and return to Alabama is officially squashed as his move to the Georgia coaching staff if official.

Georgia announced via Twitter that it had brought on the former strength and conditioning coach of the Crimson Tide and that his new role would be as a special teams coordinator.

Shortly after the announcement from the Bulldogs, Saban released a statement regarding the departure of one of the few remaining coaches of his original staff.

Full release below:

“We appreciate Scott’s contribution to our organization over the last 13 years. We can’t thank him enough for his service and dedication to our program, and his commitment to our players. He is taking his career in a new direction, and we wish Scott, Cissy and the kids the best. As we fo with every position that opens here, we will go out and hire the best person to lead out strength and conditioning program and help out players maximize the resources available in our new sports science facility.”

RELATED: Reactions to Scott Cochran leaving Alabama for Georgia

Cochran joined Saban’s staff in 2007 and has been apart of all six national championships the program has won over the course of 13 seasons. This is also the second time Georgia head coach Kirby Smart has pursued Cochran in order for him to join his staff.

The first time came back in 2015 when Smart first became the head coach at Georgia, but Cochran opted to stay in Tuscaloosa and received a pay raise. Today things have obviously changed as Cochran is now on his way to a new challenge.

Crimson Tide fans will not have to wait until the SEC Championship game to see what Cochran has to offer to the Bulldogs as the two teams will square off on Sept. 19 when Georgia travels to Bryant-Denny Stadium in an epic Alabama reunion.

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Patrick Dowd is a Reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter, via Pat_Dowd77

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Reactions to Scott Cochran leaving Alabama for Georgia https://tdalabamamag.com/2020/02/24/reactions-to-scott-cochran-leaving-alabama-for-georgia/ Mon, 24 Feb 2020 22:18:25 +0000 https://tdalabamamag.com/?p=74786 Alabama’s long time strength and conditioning coach, Scott Cochran, is leaving Alabama for Georgia, according to multiple reports. This news set social media on fire and Alabama’s current and former players reacted to the news along with a few of their signees. Here are a few of their reactions: Alabama Players: Ty Perine – Alabama […]]]>

Alabama’s long time strength and conditioning coach, Scott Cochran, is leaving Alabama for Georgia, according to multiple reports.

This news set social media on fire and Alabama’s current and former players reacted to the news along with a few of their signees.

Here are a few of their reactions:

Alabama Players:

Ty Perine – Alabama Punter

Alabama Signees:

Javion Cohen – 2020 OL Signee

Brian Branch – 2020 DB Signee

Former Alabama Players:

 

Josh Jacobs – Former Alabama Running back

Cam Robinson – Former Alabama Offensive Lineman

Alphonse Taylor – Former Alabama Offensive Lineman

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix – Former Alabama Defensive Back

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Scott Cochran to leave Alabama for on-field position at Georgia https://tdalabamamag.com/2020/02/24/scott-cochran-expected-to-leave-alabama-for-position-at-georgia/ Mon, 24 Feb 2020 19:59:28 +0000 https://tdalabamamag.com/?p=74774 According to Tide Sports’ Cecil Hurt, longtime Alabama strength and conditioning coach Scott Cochran is expected to be taking an on field position at the University of Georgia. Barring any last second change of heart it seems as if it is a done deal per Hurt. Cochran has been apart of all six of Alabama’s […]]]>

According to Tide Sports’ Cecil Hurt, longtime Alabama strength and conditioning coach Scott Cochran is expected to be taking an on field position at the University of Georgia. Barring any last second change of heart it seems as if it is a done deal per Hurt. Cochran has been apart of all six of Alabama’s national championship teams under head coach Nick Saban.

Since 2007 Cochran has played a massive role in developing the players Saban has brought into the program. He has also had a close relationship with former Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart who is now the head coach of the Bulldogs.

Smart has originally pursued Cochran to join his staff back in 2015 when he first arrived at Georgia but decided to stay with the Crimson Tide along with receiving a pay raise.

He is one of two members of Saban’s original staff still with the team, Cochran had a reputation of one of the most well liked members of the staff amongst the players with many attributing their success to his ability to make them stronger and better athletes.

“I’m a kid who came in 175 pounds soaking wet, maybe benching 200 pounds and squatting 225,” said former Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron in an episode on 60 Minutes back in 2013. “Now I squat 600 and bench 375. The things (Cochran’s) been able to help me with is unbelievable and he’s the best.”

Cochran had also been previously pursued by current Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin.

It has now been reported by ESPN’s Chris Low that Saban is expected to let the team know about Cochran’s departure later Monday afternoon in a team meeting.

Head athletic trainer Jeff Allen is now the only member of Saban’s staff from 2007 to still be with Alabama.

This post will be updated.

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Patrick Dowd is a Reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter, via Pat_Dowd77

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Gage Wilcox sets commitment date https://tdalabamamag.com/2020/02/24/gage-wilcox-sets-commitment-date/ Mon, 24 Feb 2020 18:49:59 +0000 https://tdalabamamag.com/?p=74761 2021 4-Star tight end, Gage Wilcox, will announce his verbal commitment to the school of his choice Friday and he said Alabama is still in the mix. I will be committing this Friday 2/28 at 6:00 pm tune in‼️✝️ — B I G 1️⃣3️⃣ (@GageWilcox12) February 24, 2020 Wilcox is a product of Jefferson High […]]]>

2021 4-Star tight end, Gage Wilcox, will announce his verbal commitment to the school of his choice Friday and he said Alabama is still in the mix.

Wilcox is a product of Jefferson High School in Tampa, Florida. The Tide offered him over a year ago as they extended an offer to him in February of 2019. The Florida product said he felt he can do some amazing things in Tuscaloosa when he was informed of his offer.

“They are an amazing school and I feel I could be very successful there,” Wilcox said.

The Tide hosted Wilcox for their Junior Day Event earlier this month. After the visit, Wilcox said he really liked Alabama’s coaches.

A great relationship with the coaching staff is one of the main factors Wilcox said he would consider when looking at a possible landing spot.

“I really want a tight connection with the coaches, making sure I want to spend the next three to four years of my life with a coach I like and players I like as well,” Wilcox said.

At 6-4 and 240 pounds, Wilcox is a big-body tight end prospect. His wide frame allows him to be a defensive mismatch in the corner of the endzone. He is also a hard and tough runner with the football in his hands in the open field.

Alabama will look to add a couple of tight ends to their 2021 recruiting class as they continue their push to add athletic tight ends to their roster. Florida and Georgia still look to be heavily involved in Wilcox’s recruitment as the Gators are expected to host him in March.

Get the BEST Alabama football insider information, message board access, and recruiting coverage today! SIGN UP HERE to unlock our subscriber only content

Justin Smith is a Scouting/Recruiting analyst for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter, via @Jdsmith31Smith

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Four former Tide players post strong measurements at NFL Combine https://tdalabamamag.com/2020/02/24/four-former-tide-players-post-strong-measurements-at-nfl-combine/ Mon, 24 Feb 2020 18:30:15 +0000 https://tdalabamamag.com/?p=74763 The 2020 NFL Draft class at quarterback, wide receiver and tight end all arrived at Lucas Oil Stadium (Indianapolis, Ind.) on Sunday to register for the annual NFL Scouting Combine.  After taking part in orientation and interviews, the prospects had their measurements recorded on Monday and four former Alabama players dominated the weigh-in process.  RELATED: Hall of […]]]>

The 2020 NFL Draft class at quarterback, wide receiver and tight end all arrived at Lucas Oil Stadium (Indianapolis, Ind.) on Sunday to register for the annual NFL Scouting Combine. 

After taking part in orientation and interviews, the prospects had their measurements recorded on Monday and four former Alabama players dominated the weigh-in process. 

RELATED: Hall of Fame WR, Andre Reed, gives Jerry Jeudy some words of wisdom

Tua Tagovailoa, a two-year starter at quarterback, was listed at 6-foot-1 and 215 pounds at Alabama.

He measured out at 6-feet, 217 pounds at the combine. Not only was this great for him, but he also entered the event with his right hip in strong condition. Three months have passed since his injury versus Mississippi State; however, Tagovailoa’s determination and the work performed by the medical staff of the Crimson Tide has him projected as a top-five pick. 

In terms of his hands, arms and wingspan, Tagovailoa carries similar measurements to Russell Wilson and Drew Brees. His right hand came out to 9 7/8” and his left hand (dominant hand) measured out at 10” even. His arms were 30 4/8” and his wingspan was 75 2/8” at the combine. 

Henry Ruggs did not come out to 6-feet, in terms of height, but his hands won the combine measurements for him.

A native of Montgomery, Ala., Ruggs posted a size of 10 1/8” hands and this will help show scouts and teams that he’s more than just speed.

Of his 98 career receptions at Alabama, 24 resulted in touchdowns. He has the ability to control the ball with his hands and quickly explode upfield for huge plays. When it comes to his wingspan, Ruggs measured out at 74 4/8” with 30 4/8” arms. His height/weight was at 5-foot-11, 188 pounds – which is good. 

According to Daniel Jeremiah, a former NFL scout and analyst on NFL Network, he has Ruggs as his No. 3 receiver.

He believes the speedster could be the No. 1 guy taken at the position. 

Not too many players carry the same height/weight from college to the NFL Combine; nevertheless, Jerry Jeudy did.

Hailing from Deerfield Beach, Fla., he measured at 6-foot-1 and 193 pounds. The former five-star looks to put a show in the 40-yard dash, on-field drills and other stations, as he projects as a top-10 to top-15 pick. His wingspan came to 76 inches. 

He spent his final collegiate season at Oklahoma, but Jalen Hurts played three years at quarterback for Alabama.

His height/weight of 6-foot-1, 222 pounds was very solid for an individual that wants to prove he is more than just a developmental project at the position. As for his hands, they came close to 10 inches at 9 6/8”. 

Aside from Tagovailoa, the trio of Jeudy, Ruggs and Hurts will compete in the bench press on Wednesday and have on-field workouts on Thursday via NFL Network. 

*Get the BEST Alabama football insider information, message board access, and recruiting coverage today! SIGN UP HERE to unlock our subscriber only content!*

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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Hall of Fame WR, Andre Reed, gives Jerry Jeudy some words of wisdom https://tdalabamamag.com/2020/02/23/nfl-hall-of-fame-wr-andre-reed-gives-jerry-jeudy-some-words-of-wisdom/ Sun, 23 Feb 2020 21:25:46 +0000 https://tdalabamamag.com/?p=74754 Former Alabama wide receiver, Jerry Jeudy, sat down with Hall of Fame wide receiver, Andre Reed, recently to discuss some of the challenges of playing in the National Football League. Reed played in the NFL for 16 years. 15 of those years were with the Buffalo Bills and one was with the Washington Redskins. The […]]]>

Former Alabama wide receiver, Jerry Jeudy, sat down with Hall of Fame wide receiver, Andre Reed, recently to discuss some of the challenges of playing in the National Football League.

Reed played in the NFL for 16 years. 15 of those years were with the Buffalo Bills and one was with the Washington Redskins. The Pennsylvania-native pulled in 951 receptions for 13,198 yards and 87 touchdowns during his career.

Jeudy and Reed went back and forth as the Biletnikoff Winner asked Reed questions about transitioning into the NFL, staying healthy at the next level and more.

Jeudy will compete at the 2019 NFL draft Combine on Feb. 27 in hopes that he can be one of the first wide receivers off the board, which he is projected to be.

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PODCAST: Will Steve Sarkisian win a national championship in year two at Alabama? https://tdalabamamag.com/2020/02/23/podcast-will-steve-sarkisian-win-a-national-championship-in-year-two-at-alabama/ Sun, 23 Feb 2020 19:20:42 +0000 https://tdalabamamag.com/?p=74749 Continuity is starting to happen on Nick Saban’s coaching staff at Alabama, as Steve Sarkisian remains at offensive coordinator and Butch Jones got promoted. Also, the Crimson Tide attracted help on defense in hiring Charlie Strong as analyst. When it comes to offense, the coordinators under Saban stepped their game up in year two. Jim McElwain […]]]>

Continuity is starting to happen on Nick Saban’s coaching staff at Alabama, as Steve Sarkisian remains at offensive coordinator and Butch Jones got promoted.

Also, the Crimson Tide attracted help on defense in hiring Charlie Strong as analyst. When it comes to offense, the coordinators under Saban stepped their game up in year two.

Jim McElwain helped Alabama to a national championship in his second season (2009) and Lane Kiffin followed suit in the 2015 campaign.

Sarkisian has had success with managing quarterbacks and offenses – since his time with the USC Trojans – however, he has not won a national title since 2003.  

After having a group that averaged 47.2 points per game (most under Saban) last year, the 45-year-old is ready to hoist a championship again.

Sarkisian will have a strong quarterback room, headlined by Mac Jones and a talent five-star in Bryce Young that everyone wants to see.  

RELATED: Alabama RB Brian Robinson to be a force this season, says it’s ‘personal’ for him

The Crimson Tide also has Taulia Tagovailoa and Paul Tyson.

Sarkisian returns a stable of running backs and two dynamic weapons at receiver in DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle.  

To add with the excitement, Alabama will potentially have one of its best offensive lines of the Saban era. He’s been awesome when he has had the talent, and Sarkisian will have it in spades this season. In last week’s airing of In My Own Words, yours truly of Touchdown Alabama Magazine talks on the Tide keeping Sarkisian and promoting Butch Jones.  

I also dissect how Sarkisian will not allow a national title to pass him by again. 

Check out the video below. 

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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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The missing pieces Alabama football needs to find in 2020 https://tdalabamamag.com/2020/02/22/the-missing-pieces-alabama-football-needs-to-find-in-2020/ https://tdalabamamag.com/2020/02/22/the-missing-pieces-alabama-football-needs-to-find-in-2020/#respond Sun, 23 Feb 2020 01:18:09 +0000 https://tdalabamamag.com/?p=74599 Do you know what are the vital pieces of the puzzle that Alabama so desperately needs to find in 2020? Read this and I'm sure you will agree we've found them all.]]>

The missing pieces Alabama football needs to find in 2020

Last season was one one of those could have / should have seasons where the Tide fell short in two games, the first with the eventual national champion that simply had the season of a lifetime and the second in their big rivalry game with Auburn. Both losses were close proving Alabama to be one of the top teams in the nations, but still short of being number one.

So where did Alabama fall short and what are the missing pieces that Alabama needs to find to return to the top? Let’s examine the subject and see.

Slow down opponent scoring – Let’s look at what Alabama has done over the last 11 years and where their allowed scoring was and the result of that on the season’s outcome.

2009 – Allowed 11.7 points per game – Won a national championship

2010 – Allowed 13.5 points per game – Finished at #10 with three losses

2011 – Allowed 8.2 points per game – Won a national championship

2012 – Allowed 10.9 points per game – Won a national championship

2013 – Allowed 13.9 points per game – Finished at #7 with two losses

2014 – Allowed 18.4 points per game – Finished at #4 with two losses

2015 – Allowed 15.1 points per game – Won a national championship

2016 – Allowed 13 points per game – Finished at #2 with one loss

2017 – Allowed 11.9 points per game – Won a national championship

2018 – Allowed 18.1 points per game – Finished at #2 with one loss

2019 – Allowed 18.6 points per game – Finished at #8 with two losses

11 year averages – Allowed 13.94 points per game – Average finish – #3

Average points allowed when winning a national championship –  11.56 points per game

Average points allowed when not winning a national championship – 15.91 points per game

So what does all this data tell you? Let’s start with defense wins championships. Let’s throw in the Tide misses Kirby Smart on the defensive side of the ball and now you can really appreciate more what he did for the Tide. You can see a distinct downward slide in what the defense was able to accomplish since Smart’s departure.

Now to silence the critics of this article who may point that the roughly 4.5 point difference between the championship years and the non championship years are not much, consider the following statements. Last season Alabama lost to Auburn by 3 points and LSU by 5, an average of four points. So don’t say 4.5 points doesn’t matter. Also consider that Alabama lost a national championship to Clemson by just 4 points also, so again, please don’t say 4.5 points isn’t much. It’s the difference between winning a national championship in just those two seasons and losing them as they did.

Yes, you could make the excuse that last season had a lot of players on defense hurt. But that’s all it is, an excuse. All team’s have injured players, it’s called a contact sport for a reason.

Last season Alabama proved that while it could score a lot of points, it didn’t do well in track meets. Though they finished the year only allowing 18.6 points per game, (worst in the hot Nick Saban era), they gave up 46 to LSU and 48 to Auburn.

So it doesn’t matter that the defensive line does this or the linebackers do that or that the defensive backfield do whatever, the whole unit has to combine it’s efforts and stop the bleeding on defense that allows the better teams on our schedule to hang 40 something points on them.

The recent hire of Charley Strong can only help this situation as he was one of the best defensive coordinators in the business and his input can really be of benefit here.

Now I’m not telling you or the Tide how to slow the scoring down by personnel changes, different defensive schemes or such. If I could do that, I’d be making millions as a coach instead of being just another sports writer.

Missing piece number two – Using the offense as a defensive weapon – 

Has anyone else tied the Tua Tagovailoa years to the worst years of defensive points allowed? Well let me make this point. Prior to Tua, Alabama still scored almost as many points per game, but opponents had a lot less drives per game. Tua scoring in 2 minutes and 11 seconds instead of Jake Coker dinking and dunking passes to move the chains and running backs dragging guys for first downs for those eight minute scoring drives surely makes a huge difference. Teams playing against Bama in the Tua years had up to 6 more possessions to score points. Now can you see why the quick strike boom boom boom offense has a drawback?

In the past, Saban allowed his offense to be one of the biggest weapons in his defensive arsenal. Take last season for example, opposing teams ran 35 more plays on offense than Bama did. Take into context Bama’s 2011 national championship season where it was a balanced ball control offense, Alabama ran 145 more plays than their opponents with about 5.5 more minutes of possession. That team still managed about 35 points a game. Yes that’s less than last season’s 47 points a game, but then both teams had so many less possessions that it was expected.

It reminds me of an old “Bear” Bryant axiom, “You can’t score if you don’t have the ball.” With Tua gone, Saban is going to look to slow the offense down a little and give opponents two or three less chances to score each game.

With Najee Harris, Brian Robinson and perhaps the deepest pool of running backs in the nation, it would not be shocking to see Saban try and turn down the speed of the offense a notch or two with this great running game and use the “quick strike” that Mac Jones proved he has in his bag of tricks only as shock value only as he did on the first play from scrimmage against Michigan in this past bowl game.

Penalties are point number three

Undisciplined teams are just something that used to be unheard of for a Nick Saban coached team. Over the last couple of untypical Bama seasons however, penalties have become a real sore spot and many of the losses could have been different without them.

Last season Alabama committed 95 penalties for 855 yards for an average of 65.8 yards per game. Now compare that to say the 49 penalties for just 29.4 yards per game for the 2011 Alabama championship team. Nick talked, yelled and berated players all last season all to seemingly no avail.

It’s really sickening to see the slide. 95 penalties last season, 87 the year before, 70 in 2017, 86 in 2016, 89 in 2015 and all the way back to 2011 it’s been a downward slide.

Let me repeat one important fact, many of penalties either ended drives for Alabama that could have won a game or continued a drive for an opponent that allowed them to score and win a game. You can point to way too many Alabama losses and see where penalties could be said to have been a deciding cause for that loss.

Missing piece number four – Getting back to showing the “Alabama Factor”

Nick Saban has told anyone who will listen that perhaps the problems just discussed show his team drifting farther from the team it used to be. He wants that team to return to the type of team that dominated teams not just by running the score up on them, but throttling their efforts to sustain drives and put points on the board and not giving up any dumb penalties.

Last spring he told all the reporters at a press conference, “The No. 1 goal and objective for the spring is we have to reestablish the Alabama factor, to me. We’ve always been a team that’s played with tremendous amount of discipline, had a lot responsible and accountable guys that could go out there, do their job and be dependable. Everybody’s always put the team first.” 

So what is the Alabama factor? That means having a defense that teams are simply scared to face. That means having a defense that just won’t allow a team to come close to scoring enough points to make a game out of it and teams full of men who know their jobs, don’t blow plays and don’t make stupid penalties.

I forget which one, but several years ago one SEC coach said at media days in Birmingham I was covering, was asked about finally getting over the hurdle that is Alabama and he said,”It’s hard to beat them. Before the game is even started they have a 10 point advantage on us just by wearing those damn Crimson jerseys. That comes from their belief in themselves, their coaches and their game plan. They expect to win every game just because they’re Alabama and our team’s just not there yet. We have to build that kind of faith in our players toward our program.”

I guess in his own words, that too is the Alabama factor at least from the eyes of an opponent.

But Nick Saban is the greatest of all time and he knows all these things. Now it’s just a simple but then again not so simple plan to implement a program that addresses all this and Alabama fans pray it will happen.

So yes, in talking about things Alabama needs to do to improve, you could certainly nit pic all day long or just look at these four big things and end it there. And we will.

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Larry Burton has been published in almost every media outlet for college sports and now primarily writes here for Touchdown Alabama. Follow Larry on Twitter for inside thoughts and game time comments at https://twitter.com/LBSportswriter

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See the videos of Alabama’s stunning depth at running back https://tdalabamamag.com/2020/02/22/see-the-videos-of-alabamas-stunning-depth-at-running-back/ https://tdalabamamag.com/2020/02/22/see-the-videos-of-alabamas-stunning-depth-at-running-back/#respond Sun, 23 Feb 2020 01:02:45 +0000 https://tdalabamamag.com/?p=74524 After watching these videos, it's really hard to argue two points. One, that Alabama has the deepest pool of running backs in the nation, and may for a while.]]>

See the videos of Alabama’s stunning depth at running back

Let’s not even preface the headline or story with the word “may”. To say Alabama’s running back depth may be the nation’s best and deepest unit is like saying the sun “may” come up tomorrow, because barring some unforeseen act of God, it will and Alabama’s running back depth just is the nation’s best.

While other schools may have a running back on the level of Najee Harris and some may even have a back that good and a great backup, how do they look, three, four, five, six or more deep? That’s how far you can go down in the Crimson Tide depth chart and find running backs that would start at many big time schools.

So take a look at these videos and see if you agree that Saban has filled the shelves at this position better than anyone else in the country.

Najee Harris – Coming back as a real team player because of “unfinished business”, he is fantastic. What can I tell you about him you don’t already know? So just marvel at some of these highlights. And don’t just marvel at the running plays, but watch his hands as a receiver.

Brian Robinson – Brian “The Battering Ram” Robinson also came back for his senior season. He’s a great blocker and as a running back hits the line like a fullback but has a downhill burst you can count on in third or goal and short. Last season he averaged over 4.5 yards a carry and will do more this season. They say you can make millions in the NFL as a running back averaging 4.5 yard per carry, well so for in his career at Alabama, Robinson averages 4.8.

Sadly, I couldn’t find a highlight reel of Robinson’s career here so far, but take a look at this video of his freshman year and just think how much better he is now.

Trey Sanders – Hurt his entire 2019 freshman season last year, but he’s healthy and ready to show that he’s capable of doing what he did in high school. By the way, he was one of the nation’s top talents at running back coming out of high school with the size and speed similar to Najee’s. Enjoy some of his high school video and just imagine what this will look like with him in Crimson and those big boys in Tuscaloosa opening holes for him.

Jase McClellan – It was interesting that Saban got this recruit to flip from Oklahoma, where they could have surely used him early and often, to Alabama where he knew going in it would take a while to get serious playing time. But when Alabama puts running backs in the NFL who never even cracked the starting lineup, like all pro Josh Jacobs, it’s easy to see why waiting for your chance can pay off and you go into the NFL with fresh legs and not all hobbled up.
McClellan is happy grinding out short yardage TD’s or first downs or turning on the jets for long runs. He can do it all much like a Mark Ingram style. Take a look at these high school highlights and marvel.

Roydell Williams – Yet another member of 2020 class, can we just stop here and marvel not only how good this group of running back are this year, but for the foreseeable future as well. Williams is just a boss athlete. In high school he played quarterback, running back, receiver, defense, special teams and just about everything but the first trumpet in the halftime show’s marching band.
It’s getting repetitive, but he can and likes to put the shoulder into defenders in short yard situations, but can also plant the right foot and bolt away, leaving defenders with an angle on him wondering how they never got close enough to touch him. He’s all Alabama too, living the dream of wearing the Crimson and White, so he’ll be here for his senior season helping the Tide for years.
Kyle Edwards – Though he wasn’t as as nationally ranked as other running backs here in Tuscaloosa, Saban saw another Josh Jacobs who also wasn’t wanted by many other programs. Saban wanted him because he’s a gritty downhill runner who can move a pile, get yards after contact and maybe never turn the ball over. That’s something that always gets Saban’s attention.
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Alabama’s Xavier McKinney ready to lock up No. 1 safety spot at NFL Combine https://tdalabamamag.com/2020/02/22/alabamas-xavier-mckinney-ready-to-lock-up-no-1-safety-spot-at-nfl-combine/ Sun, 23 Feb 2020 00:58:46 +0000 https://tdalabamamag.com/?p=74741 No other defensive back meant more to its team than what Xavier McKinney meant to Alabama football last season. As one of the four permanent team captains from 2019, McKinney carried the defense on his back and ran everything from his safety spot. He gives the National Football League a complete package at his position, […]]]>

No other defensive back meant more to its team than what Xavier McKinney meant to Alabama football last season.

As one of the four permanent team captains from 2019, McKinney carried the defense on his back and ran everything from his safety spot.

He gives the National Football League a complete package at his position, in terms of his ability to tackle, cover, create turnovers and pressure quarterbacks. Despite not being a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award, the native Georgian stuffed the stats sheet – totaling a team-high 95 tackles (5.5 for loss), three sacks, five breakups, five quarterback hurries, four forced fumbles, one blocked kick, three interceptions and one touchdown.

It was not the defense fans were accustomed to, but McKinney paced Alabama to a top-20 unit in scoring and total defense.  

RELATED: Tua Tagovailoa reveals the NFL team he would love to play for

Between he and Grant Delpit of LSU, some NFL Draft analyst believe there is not much separation between the two.

Daniel Jeremiah of NFL Network refers to McKinney as the best safety in this class, and he intends on displaying his skill set at the NFL Scouting Combine. 

He was on a College Football Playoff National Championship team in 2017 and a Southeastern Conference title team in 2018.

McKinney projects as a top-15 to top-20 pick for the upcoming draft in April.  

*Get the BEST Alabama football insider information, message board access, and recruiting coverage today! SIGN UP HERE to unlock our subscriber only content!*

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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Alabama DL Phidarian Mathis welcomes a baby girl into his family https://tdalabamamag.com/2020/02/22/alabama-dl-phidarian-mathis-welcomes-a-baby-girl-into-his-family/ Sat, 22 Feb 2020 18:51:05 +0000 https://tdalabamamag.com/?p=74733 Football is important, but he has embraced his role on a new team.  Phidarian Mathis, a native of Wisner, La., became a father on Saturday morning to a baby girl. Kyle Rae Mathis was born at 10:17 a.m. and throughout the process, the Alabama defensive lineman has documented each moment. Mathis posted a video to Twitter […]]]>

Football is important, but he has embraced his role on a new team. 

Phidarian Mathis, a native of Wisner, La., became a father on Saturday morning to a baby girl.

Kyle Rae Mathis was born at 10:17 a.m. and throughout the process, the Alabama defensive lineman has documented each moment.

Mathis posted a video to Twitter of the doctor cutting the umbilical cord off his daughter, as she entered the world. 

This moment provides huge motivation for him. 

Mathis will enter his redshirt junior year in the fall, and it is a chance for him to create a draft status for himself. He entered the University of Alabama as a four-star in the 2017 recruiting class and posted 45 tackles in 27 games.

The 6-foot-4, 312-pounder had 27 tackles last season with two quarterback hurries and one forced fumble.

RELATED: Alabama RB Brian Robinson to be a force this season, says it’s ‘personal’ for him

He can play at either defensive tackle or defensive end; however, it is time for him to become a force along the front line. 

*Get the BEST Alabama football insider information, message board access, and recruiting coverage today! SIGN UP HERE to unlock our subscriber only content!*

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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Alabama RB Brian Robinson to be a force this season, says it’s ‘personal’ for him https://tdalabamamag.com/2020/02/21/alabama-rb-brian-robinson-to-be-a-force-this-season-says-its-personal-for-him/ Fri, 21 Feb 2020 21:05:36 +0000 https://tdalabamamag.com/?p=74726 He ran angry in high school and spent his first three seasons at the University of Alabama with the same mentality, but now Brian Robinson is ready to kick the door in.  Once a four-star from Hillcrest High School in Tuscaloosa, Ala., Robinson arrived on campus with Najee Harris in the 2017 recruiting class. While people […]]]>

He ran angry in high school and spent his first three seasons at the University of Alabama with the same mentality, but now Brian Robinson is ready to kick the door in. 

Once a four-star from Hillcrest High School in Tuscaloosa, Ala., Robinson arrived on campus with Najee Harris in the 2017 recruiting class.

While people are mesmerized by the moves and hands of Harris, Robinson has quietly improved his numbers in each of the last three years. 

As a junior, he had his best performance.  

RELATED: Alabama safety, Daniel Wright prepares himself to be a starter next season

Robinson totaled 441 yards rushing with five touchdowns on 96 carries. He averaged five yards per rush and caught 11 passes for 124 receiving yards. Although there is not one specific part of his game that makes him elite, Robinson does a lot of things well.

The 6-foot-1, 226-pounder is a strong runner, pass blocker, run blocker and displays the ability to catch passes too.

With the Crimson Tide returning Harris and having the tandem of Trey Sanders and Keilan Robinson, some do not give the Tuscaloosa native the respect he deserves. Seeing how Alabama has also signed three more running backs in its 2020 class, Robinson knows how important this fall is. 

According to a post he made on Twitter, he’s putting everything into this season. 

Nick Saban expects to keep all seven backs on the roster. An opportunity is there for Robinson to serve in a fullback/H-back role, while he would still be able to run the ball and catch passes. 

At the same time, he believes he is as good as Harris and everyone else in the rotation. 

Robinson has 878 career rushing yards with nine scores. NFL scouts will be looking at him along with Harris. Much like Kenyan Drake separated himself from Derrick Henry, Robinson looks to create more of his own wave.  

*Get the BEST Alabama football insider information, message board access, and recruiting coverage today! SIGN UP HERE to unlock our subscriber only content!*

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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Alabama safety, Daniel Wright prepares himself to be a starter next season https://tdalabamamag.com/2020/02/21/alabama-safety-daniel-wright-prepares-himself-to-be-a-starter-next-season/ Fri, 21 Feb 2020 19:54:30 +0000 https://tdalabamamag.com/?p=74719 Regardless of the talent and depth it has, Alabama’s secondary has much growing to do before next football season. Patrick Surtain II, a rising junior, is among the players with the most experience – starting in 28 career games. As he looks to get better with his technique, another name to watch this spring is […]]]>

Regardless of the talent and depth it has, Alabama’s secondary has much growing to do before next football season.

Patrick Surtain II, a rising junior, is among the players with the most experience – starting in 28 career games. As he looks to get better with his technique, another name to watch this spring is Daniel Wright. He enters his fourth year in the program and as a redshirt junior, the native of Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) has played in 31 career games since 2017. 

An alumnus of Boyd Anderson High School, Wright signed in the Crimson Tide’s 2017 recruiting class as a four-star at safety.

He immediately made a name for himself on kickoff coverage, as he blew up Keith Gavin of Florida State in Alabama’s season opener. 

Wright recorded 10 tackles as a freshman, all of which came on special teams.

Not only did he tie for the team lead in this area, but he was also named Special Teams Player of the Week three times from the coaching staff and he helped the Tide capture a national championship that year. A shoulder injury cut Wright’s campaign short in 2018 after four games. In his return last year, he totaled eight tackles in the secondary.

The 6-foot-1, 190-pounder is an enforcer (tackling) that also has great range in pass coverage.

He’s had to learn some things, but for the first time he has positioned himself for an opportunity to be a starter. With the Tide losing Xavier McKinney and Jared Mayden to the NFL Draft, Wright looks to win the starting role at one of the safety spots. 

According to a video from Scott Cochran, Alabama’s director of strength and conditioning, Wright is already preparing himself by dominating the fourth quarter program. 

He has gotten stronger in the weight room and this goes a long way – especially when it comes to delivering hits with bad intentions. Wright will be in his money year in the fall and he has a chance to captain the secondary to a national title.

RELATED: REPORT: Steve Sarkisian to remain at Alabama and is expecting a raise, per ESPN

The time is now for him to be the man. 

*Get the BEST Alabama football insider information, message board access, and recruiting coverage today! SIGN UP HERE to unlock our subscriber only content!*

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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Tua Tagovailoa reveals the NFL team he would love to play for https://tdalabamamag.com/2020/02/21/tua-tagovailoa-reveals-the-nfl-team-he-would-love-to-play-for/ Fri, 21 Feb 2020 18:51:24 +0000 https://tdalabamamag.com/?p=74716 The main objective for Tua Tagovailoa is to play football again, especially after his junior season and remainder of his collegiate career at Alabama was cut short because of a hip injury.  He wants to prove he can still compete and win at the next level; however, the former All-American and national champion has a […]]]>

The main objective for Tua Tagovailoa is to play football again, especially after his junior season and remainder of his collegiate career at Alabama was cut short because of a hip injury. 

He wants to prove he can still compete and win at the next level; however, the former All-American and national champion has a preference of where he would like to go in the National Football League. According to a video posted by Blogging the Boys, a SB Nation site for the Dallas Cowboys, Tagovailoa would not mind playing the franchise known as “America’s Team.” 

He grew up a Cowboys fan and has no problem learning from Dak Prescott, but he also knows the team doesn’t select until pick No. 17 in the NFL Draft. Would Jerry Jones make the move to trade up and get Tagovailoa?

Probably not, but it’s interesting to note he loves the Cowboys.

Overall, the native Hawaiian does not mind learning from a veteran on any team. 

RELATED: Tua Tagovailoa to have an autograph signing for Alabama fans this week

He simply wants to secure his dream of playing on the biggest stage possible.

At Alabama, he finished second in the Heisman voting and snatched multiple school records – including most touchdown passes (87, career) and most total touchdowns (96, career).

Tagovailoa helped the Crimson Tide to a Southeastern Conference Championship in 2018 and should he remain healthy, he has all the tools to lead a franchise to numerous Super Bowls in the future. 

Next week, he looks to win his medical at the NFL Scouting Combine.  

*Get the BEST Alabama football insider information, message board access, and recruiting coverage today! SIGN UP HERE to unlock our subscriber only content!*

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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WATCH: 4-Star, Xavian Sorey, is a unique talent, who ‘will be even better in college’ https://tdalabamamag.com/2020/02/21/watch-4-star-xavian-sorey-is-a-unique-talent-who-will-be-even-better-in-college/ Fri, 21 Feb 2020 16:16:33 +0000 https://tdalabamamag.com/?p=74702 2021 4-Star athlete, Xavian Sorey, is a gifted athlete, who Alabama has recruited very hard during the 2021 recruiting cycle. The Tide hosted Sorey for its Junior Day event in February. Justin Smith, Touchdown Alabama’s Scouting/Recruiting Analyst, interviewed Graceville High School’s Head Coach, Barry Gardner, to talk about what makes Sorey special on the latest […]]]>

2021 4-Star athlete, Xavian Sorey, is a gifted athlete, who Alabama has recruited very hard during the 2021 recruiting cycle.

The Tide hosted Sorey for its Junior Day event in February.

Justin Smith, Touchdown Alabama’s Scouting/Recruiting Analyst, interviewed Graceville High School’s Head Coach, Barry Gardner, to talk about what makes Sorey special on the latest episode of “The Process.”

RELATED: Call Into “The Process” at 205-440-3968 and leave your recruiting question via voicemail

Smith also provided a recruiting update.

WATCH VIDEO BELOW:

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Alabama moves Butch Jones to new position on coaching staff https://tdalabamamag.com/2020/02/20/alabama-moves-butch-jones-to-new-position-on-coaching-staff/ Fri, 21 Feb 2020 01:30:50 +0000 https://tdalabamamag.com/?p=74697 According to a report from AL.com, former University of Tennessee head coach and current Alabama staffer Butch Jones will be moved to a new coaching position this upcoming season. Jones served as an offensive analyst over the past two season’s on Nick Saban’s staff and will now be listed as a special assistant to the […]]]>

According to a report from AL.com, former University of Tennessee head coach and current Alabama staffer Butch Jones will be moved to a new coaching position this upcoming season.

Jones served as an offensive analyst over the past two season’s on Nick Saban’s staff and will now be listed as a special assistant to the head coach. It is unclear what Jones’ new responsibilities will be under his new title but it is clear that it is a promotion.

Since the season’s conclusion Jones’ name had been linked to a couple of other possible head coaching gigs but ultimately decided to remain with the Crimson Tide.

“I know Butch had other job opportunities after last year, and he decided he wanted to stay here,” said Saban. “It’s obviously an advantage when you have continuity in your program with the people that you have in your organization at any level.”

This news also comes after Saban hired former USF head coach Charlie Strong as a new defensive analyst on the staff. Alabama will now have six former head coaches on the staff which include Steve Sarkisian, Jones, Major Applewhite, Kyle Flood and Mike Stoops.

Now with Sarkisian remaining with Alabama as the team’s offensive coordinator and Jones staying on with a new role, it will be an offseason of relief for Saban as he will be heading into the 2020 season with two important coaches remaining on his staff.

*Get the BEST Alabama football insider information, message board access, and recruiting coverage today! SIGN UP HERE to unlock our subscriber only content!*

 Patrick Dowd is a Reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter, via Pat_Dowd77

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SEC Media Days 2020 schedule has been released https://tdalabamamag.com/2020/02/20/sec-media-days-2020-schedule-has-been-released/ Thu, 20 Feb 2020 23:00:42 +0000 https://tdalabamamag.com/?p=74694 The unofficial countdown event for college football has been scheduled.  When it comes to summer, fans of the Southeastern Conference get excited about media days because it is the sign of football’s return. After having SEC Media Days in Hoover (Ala.) last year and for more than three decades – prior to 2018 – the […]]]>

The unofficial countdown event for college football has been scheduled. 

When it comes to summer, fans of the Southeastern Conference get excited about media days because it is the sign of football’s return. After having SEC Media Days in Hoover (Ala.) last year and for more than three decades – prior to 2018 – the event will be in Atlanta this year. 

According to an article from CBS Sports on Thursday, the College Football Hall of Fame and Omni Hotel will serve as venues for reporters.

This year’s media days is scheduled from Monday, July 13 to Thursday, July 16.

RELATED: REPORT: Steve Sarkisian to remain at Alabama and is expecting a raise, per ESPN

Ed Orgeron, head coach of the LSU Tigers, will start the event on Monday, July 13.

He’s coming off a College Football Playoff National Championship and looks to guide the program to another one.

Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide will speak on Wednesday, July 15.

The three student-athletes that will represent each school will be announced at a later date. 

*Get the BEST Alabama football insider information, message board access, and recruiting coverage today! SIGN UP HERE to unlock our subscriber only content!*

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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REPORT: Steve Sarkisian to remain at Alabama and is expecting a raise, per ESPN https://tdalabamamag.com/2020/02/20/report-steve-sarkisian-to-remain-at-alabama-and-is-expecting-a-raise-per-espn/ Thu, 20 Feb 2020 21:31:13 +0000 https://tdalabamamag.com/?p=74691 Alabama football got a double helping of good news this week.  After securing Charlie Strong as a defensive analyst, Nick Saban will not have to look for another offensive coordinator. According to Chris Low of ESPN, Steve Sarkisian will remain with the Crimson Tide and is expecting a pay raise to make him one of the […]]]>

Alabama football got a double helping of good news this week. 

After securing Charlie Strong as a defensive analyst, Nick Saban will not have to look for another offensive coordinator.

According to Chris Low of ESPN, Steve Sarkisian will remain with the Crimson Tide and is expecting a pay raise to make him one of the highest-paid assistant coaches in college football.  

Sarkisian was rising in the conversation to be the next head coach at Colorado; however, the California native turned the offer down.

He made the offense prolific at Alabama in 2019 and more is expected of Sarkisian next season.

RELATED: Is Steve Sarkisian next in line for the Colorado head coaching job?

He has a lot of talented pieces back on the roster.  

*Get the BEST Alabama football insider information, message board access, and recruiting coverage today! SIGN UP HERE to unlock our subscriber only content!*

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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