Alabama fans had become quite skilled in watching and waiting for Kirby Smart to take a head coaching job, it had become an offseason tradition. Now that Smart has left to take the head coaching job at Georgia, the post-Kirby Smart era has begun in Tuscaloosa and not everyone agrees on just how it’s going to go.
CBS analyst Rick Neuheisel and Gary Danielson (a Bama fan favorite) had this very discussion with the two taking opposite sides.
“Transition and turnover in the coaching staff is always a hurdle to clear, but I don’t know if there’s anybody more prepared for that hurdle than (Alabama coach) Nick Saban,” Neuheisel said. “He’s got almost like a bullpen of coaches.”
Neuheisel also pointed out Saban’s in depth role with the defense.
“Nick Saban is all about that defense,” Neuheisel said. “He’s out there watching practice, he’s out there with the DBs, coaching drills. It isn’t as though he’s an overseer. He’s got his hands in all of that.”
Gary Danielson however isn’t as convinced about post-Smart Alabama.
“I think that Kirby will not be as easily replaced as people think,” he said. “The first thing players do when things go bad, they find an excuse and it’s never them. And if things don’t go well at Ole Miss, the first thing they’re going to say is, ‘Well, Kirby wouldn’t have called it that way.’”
“If you look at Alabama’s schedule this year, where they play their toughest games, they’ve got a humiliated LSU team that cannot wait to play them,” he said. “They’ve got a Tennessee team that came two back-shoulder fade passes from winning a game last year, and they’ve got them at home this year. And they play Ole Miss early with probably the best quarterback (Chad Kelly) in the league.”
Honestly Danielson’s view of an Alabama team that turns to infighting and backstabbing doesn’t seem likely. Neuheisel is closer to the truth on this, the Nick Saban coaching tree will come through for the Tide, after all that Jeremy Pruitt’s no slouch.