Alabama could have at least seven new assistant football coaches for the 2019 season, topping the six new faces on Nick Saban's staff from a year ago.
The latest change is occurring on defense, as multiple media outlets have reported Mississippi State defensive line coach Brian Baker is expected to leave for the same role with the Crimson Tide. Alabama's defensive line coach this past season, Craig Kuligowski, apparently will no longer be a member of Saban's full-time staff.
Baker would be the second Alabama assistant to be plucked from Mississippi State, joining former Bulldogs running backs coach Charles Huff, who is reportedly displacing Joe Pannunzio. Last season, Mississippi State led the nation in total defense (allowing 263.1 yards per contest) and ranked second in scoring defense (13.2 points a game), and two former Bulldogs defensive linemen — Montez Sweat and Jeffery Simmons — could be first-round picks in April's NFL draft.
Alabama has yet to confirm any new hires, including reports that Steve Sarkisian has returned for a second stint as offensive coordinator and that former Tennessee head coach Butch Jones will have a full-time offensive role. The departures of Pannunzio and Kuligowski would join the previously known exits of offensive coordinator Mike Locksley, quarterbacks coach Dan Enos, receivers coach Josh Gattis, offensive line coach Brent Key and defensive coordinator Tosh Lupoi.
The Tide won each of their 12 regular-season games by more than three touchdowns and reached the title game of the College Football Playoff, where they were surprisingly thumped 44-16 by Clemson. Saban had an interesting comment this past weekend about last season's staff when speaking to the Alabama Football Coaches Association's annual convention in Montgomery.
"If there was one thing different about our team this year, it's that I don't think our coaches spent enough time developing relationships with people on the team," Saban said.
Alabama's only three assistants from this past season who haven't left or haven't been mentioned as being shuffled from the full-time staff are inside linebackers coach Pete Golding, tight ends coach Jeff Banks — who also coordinates special teams — and defensive backs coach Karl Scott. Several media outlets have reported Scott may handle cornerbacks and Charles Kelly may work with safeties this season.
Kelly spent last season as Tennessee's secondary coach under Jeremy Pruitt.
Contact David Paschall at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6524.