Alabama enters the 2018 season as the reigning national champions for the fifth time during Nick Saban’s tenure in Tuscaloosa. However, a road back to the College Football Playoff won’t be easy for the Tide after experiencing plenty of turnover this offseason.
Alabama lost nine assistants this offseason, including offensive coordinator Brian Daboll — who accepted the same position with the Buffalo Bills — and defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt — who was hired as Tennessee’s head coach in December before finishing his final two games with the Tide during the Playoff.
The team will also need to replace 15 former starters who have declared for the upcoming NFL Draft in 2018.
Saban acknowledged Alabama’s daunting task during an appearance at the Minority Coaches Association of Georgia clinic in Atlanta on Friday.
“We’re pleased with the energy and enthusiasm of the people we brought in,” Saban said via 247Sports. “We’re pleased and happy for the (departed) guys who got promotions. They contributed to the success we had in the past. That’s what they work hard for. I think everyone’s a good fit and we’re excited about the challenges of the future.
“We lost a lot of good players. I think we have 15 guys at the (NFL) combine, which is far more than anyone else. You can’t really replace them. You just have to develop the next guys who come in and hopefully play at a very high level.”
Alabama has already hired six new assistants, while promoting former co-offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach Mike Locksley to having sole possession of the OC job, as well as former outside linebackers coach Tosh Lupoi to defensive coordinator earlier this month.
Despite the turnover, the Tide still enter the upcoming season as a favorite to once again make the College Football Playoff for the fifth consecutive year, having appeared every year since the format was introduced in 2014.
Saban has managed to replace numerous assistants throughout his tenure in Tuscaloosa and the Tide have shown no signs of slowing down their decade-long dominance of college football, which should be expected moving forward..