Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Nick Saban returns to SEC media day amid uncertainties about the upcoming season

Courtesy of UA Athletics
Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban during interviews during SEC Media Day on July 19 at Grand Hyatt in Nashville, TN.

Football coaches from across the SEC traveled to Nashville, Tennessee, last week for the annual SEC football media day to mark the beginning of the 2023 football season.  

Nick Saban took the podium for the 17th time as the Crimson Tide head coach. Accompanying Saban were offensive tackle JC Latham, defensive back Kool-Aid McKinstry and outside linebacker Dallas Turner. 

After a disappointing 2022 season headlined by losses at Tennessee and LSU, the Crimson Tide enters the 2023 season with a question of what’s in store for the football program.  

With new offensive and defensive coordinators, along with losing the first offensive and defensive players in the 2023 NFL draft, it will be a fresh look for the Crimson Tide.   

Former Notre Dame offensive coordinator Tommy Rees takes over the Crimson Tide offensive.  

“He’s very bright and understands the game conceptually very, very well and has done a really good job of implementing our offense and adding to it things that will benefit us in the future,” Saban said about Rees during his podium time. 

As one of the youngest coordinators in college football at the age of 31, Rees brings a young mind to Alabama. During his time with the Fighting Irish, Rees coached the Irish to the 2020 College Football Playoff, falling to the Crimson Tide in the Rose Bowl, en route to their 18th national championship. 

Defensive coordinator Pete Golding departed from the Crimson Tide in the 2022 offseason after five seasons in Tuscaloosa in favor of an SEC rival, the Ole Miss Rebels.  

“It’s going to be a little weird seeing him at Ole Miss, but he had to do what he had to do for him and his family, so you know I hope for the best for them,” Turner said when asked about Golding joining Ole Miss. 

Golding joins former Crimson Tide coach Lane Kiffin and his staff in Oxford after an 8-5 finish for the Rebels.  

Former Alabama defensive coordinator from the 2007 season and inside linebacker coach during the 2014 season Kevin Steele returns to the Crimson Tide and will lead the defense as the new defensive coordinator. Steele spent the 2022 season as the defensive coordinator for the ACC’s Miami Hurricanes.  

“Combination of his knowledge and experience along with knowing how we do things make him a good choice,” Saban said when asked about Steele during his podium time. 

Dating back to the 2022 season, the Crimson Tide defense allowed 130.4 yards per game on average and finished 36th in the country while also giving up 3.6 yards per carry, which ranks 30th in average run distance. This finish was far from the Alabama standard and the dominating defense of Saban’s prior teams. “The expectation is joyless murderball for the season of course,” Turner said when asked about the defense for the upcoming season. 

As for the offense, the question of who the week one starting quarterback for the Crimson Tide will be has yet to be decided.  

“It’s not done yet. There’s not a decision that needs to be made at this time, nor are we ready to make a decision at this time until somebody separates themselves,” Saban said about the ongoing quarterback battle during his podium time. 

Notre Dame transfer Tyler Buchner left South Bend, following his offensive coordinator, Rees. Redshirt freshman Ty Simpson and redshirt sophomore Jalen Milroe saw limited action, having spent the 2022 season behind Bryce Young, but are the in-house candidates to win the starting job. 

Following a stretch of national championship-winning quarterbacks such as Jalen Hurts, Tua Tagovailoa, Mac Jones and Bryce Young, Alabama will not know its starting quarterback when Middle Tennesse makes the trip to Tuscaloosa for the season opener. Buchner, Simpson and Milroe all could emerge themselves as the starter by seasons end.  

“I know we’re going to go out there, compete, dominate, and do what we have to do to win. And I know we’re going to win it all and go undefeated, so whatever anybody outside of our family says essentially isn’t what matters to us,” Latham said about the upcoming season and speculation about it. 

Finishing with an 11-2 record and a Sugar Bowl victory versus Kansas State last year, a young and hungry 2023 Crimson Tide team is surrounded by questions this year under new offensive and defensive coordinators and with no true starting quarterback. The 2023 season has a lot of uncertainty surrounding it. However, entering his 17th season as head coach, Saban is the best coach in college football who can mold and lead this team into taking the next step.  

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