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What will be the most significant difference between Kalen DeBoer and Nick Saban at Alabama?

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(@stephen)
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Alabama football fans, players, and the athletics department became use to hearing one voice for 17 seasons.

Dec 2, 2023; Atlanta, GA, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban and players celebrate with the trophy on the podium after defeating the Georgia Bulldogs in the SEC championship game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Nick Saban was the over-arching theme of the Crimson Tide, and he did it his way. His toughness, discipline, and no foolishness mindset with some humor propelled Alabama to six national championships, eight College Football Playoff appearances, four Heisman Trophy winners, and other marquee honors. Saban was about dominant defense and a power run game, but he did make the transition to offense when he hired Lane Kiffin in 2014. The change allowed him to win national championships in 2015, 2017 (Brian Daboll, Mike Locksley), and 2020 (Steve Sarkisian). The media got a taste of how Kalen DeBoer operates during spring practice. Music was being played, the scene feels more laid back, but that does not mean the same success can't be generated.

RELATED: A projection of Alabama’s wins and losses for 2024 football season

Coach Saban had to build a program back to national prominence. He had to be tough, he had to restore structure, he had to transform the institution to being the gold standard of the sport. DeBoer has to continue what Saban did, but add his spin to it.

The styles both have to coaching may be the most significant difference. Saban is more fiery, demanding, in-your-face, and militant in his approach, but it worked for him. He mellowed out as he got older, but playing for Saban was like going into the Marines during the first few years under him. DeBoer seems more like a teacher. He has more of a personality the players vibe with and want to be around. DeBoer is passionate, do not get that twisted, DeBoer wants to win at the highest level in everything.

DeBoer is an offensive mind while Saban was a defensive guru.

He may not do all the yelling, screaming, headset tossing, and cussing that Saban did, but DeBoer finds ways to get his passion across in coaching players. The 49-year-old appreciates all that Saban did for the program, but he knows in order for it to reach another level he has to provide his flavor. Both are similar in a lot of ways, but DeBoer may be less militant than Saban.

It is going to be fun watching how DeBoer's style can get Alabama to a national title.

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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.

This topic was modified 1 month ago by Stephen M. Smith

   
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