Expected Changes Alabama Football Will Have Under New Coordinators

Getty CBS Sports' Barrett Sallee forecasted the expected changes Alabama football will face with Tommy Rees and Kevin Steele now in tow

With Tommy Rees and Kevin Steele now installed as the offensive coordinator and defensive coordinator of Alabama football, respectively, the Crimson Tide are set to undergo notable changes to the on-field product. Barrett Sallee broke down some of those in his latest for CBS Sports.

According to Sallee, we should expect to see the running game become more of a focus under Rees, a former Notre Dame quarterback. “Rees will get Alabama back to pounding the rock, and will do so with plenty of motion and eye candy to open running lanes,” he wrote. “Plus, he’ll do it with much more talent then he had in South Bend. By hiring Rees, it is clear that Saban is intent on being much more physical and balanced on offense.”

The reason for the shift would be to bait defenses into loading the box to prepare for run protection in order to create downfield openings in the passing game. “Rees is going to pound the rock in order to take the top off of a defense with motion and tempo, which is typically a recipe for success in this day and age.”

Barrett Sallee High on Alabama Football Defense’s Prospects

Steele was a choice that analysts liked but fans across college football were skeptical about. Sallee was high on the prospects of the Alabama football defense in 2023 because of what he feels Steele can bring out of Nick Saban.

“In 2007, college football was still an old-school sport. Running backs would consistently have 30 or more attempts per game, up-tempo schemes were rare and defensive depth wasn’t tested in ways that it is now,” Sallee wrote. “By the time he returned to the Crimson Tide, the transition to modern college football was underway and Saban was on the brink of changing his mindset. Steele helped Alabama earn SEC titles during each of those stints, and three of those four seasons resulted in the Crimson Tide finishing in the top 12 nationally in total defense.”

Steele didn’t have success last season as Miami’s defensive coordinator, but his defenses at Auburn from 2016-2020 were consistently ranked in the top half of the conference from a statistical standpoint.


Barrett Sallee Thinks Alabama Football Fans Must Relax

Sallee believes Alabama football never fell off as a contender under Bill O’Brien and Pete Golding the past two years despite Georgia’s dominance, and that the changes at both coordinator positions are minor tweaks.

“A little tweak can go a long way, and this is exactly what Saban is hoping for judging from these hires,” he wrote. “Alabama was a national title contender even with Golding and O’Brien, and there’s no need for Saban to re-invent the wheel and completely change his mindset in order to topple Georgia. Turning those dials just a bit is the responsible thing to do.”

The message from Sallee was simple: trust the process — one that has resulted in six titles in Tuscaloosa thus far in Saban’s career. “There’s a reason that Saban is the greatest coach of all time,” he wrote. “Trust him.”

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