Kevin Steele Retires: 5 Candidates To Replace the Alabama Defensive Coordinator

    Alabama finds itself without a defensive coordinator after longtime coach Kevin Steele retired. Here are five candidates to replace him.

    Just before kickoff of the National Championship Game, longtime SEC defensive coordinator Kevin Steele announced his retirement from coaching, leaving the Alabama Crimson Tide with a vacancy at its defensive coordinator position. What is the Crimson Tide looking for in a new defensive coordinator, and who might Alabama target to replace Steele?

    Candidates To Replace Kevin Steele

    Anyone who follows college football knows that Alabama usually has little trouble replacing its coordinators, as the Crimson Tide often loses them to other schools. In the past, it hasn’t been uncommon for HC Nick Saban to reach out to former head coaches or others who have seemingly been down on their luck.

    “Saban’s Coaching Rehabilitation Program” has become a running joke, but don’t be surprised if the Crimson Tide target coaches with extensive history in the SEC, including a couple that were one-time head coaches.

    Charlie Strong, Alabama Defensive Analyst

    Strong fits the bill perfectly, and he’s already on staff with the Crimson Tide. Since Steele stepped down on his own accord, Alabama could already have a succession plan in place. The Alabama defense was excellent this season, and if the Crimson Tide wants continuity, Strong may be the guy.

    Not only does Strong have extensive coordinating experience, but he’s been the head coach at Louisville, Texas, and USF.

    Jeremy Pruitt, New York Giants Defensive Analyst

    Pruitt was fired for cause when he was the head coach at the University of Tennessee in 2020. Still, he’s reportedly been cleared to return to the conference, if he chooses to do so.

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    A former National Recruiter of the Year, Pruitt’s defenses in 2016 and 2017 were two of the best ever under Saban. When he left in 2017, there were reportedly some in the Tide’s program who were glad to see him go, but if Saban wants him back, a fourth stint at Alabama could be in the cards.

    Travaris Robinson, Alabama Defensive Backs Coach

    Robinson has coordinator experience at South Carolina and is widely regarded as one of the best defensive backs coaches and recruiters in the country. At South Carolina, his defenses were constantly put in terrible positions when paired with a struggling offense. However, his defenses ranked near the top of the conference in takeaways and scoring.

    Like Strong, this would represent continuity within both the scheme and the staff.

    DJ Durkin, Texas A&M Defensive Coordinator

    Durkin has head coaching experience at Maryland, a stint that ended in controversy after the death of player Jordan McNair and accusations of a toxic culture. However, he’s reinvented himself with successful tenures as defensive coordinator at Ole Miss and Texas A&M.

    Durkin’s defenses have been stingy for years, and if he desires to become a head coach again, a stop in Tuscaloosa could pad his resume.

    Glenn Schumann, Georgia Co-Defensive Coordinator

    If Alabama wants to swing for the fences, Schumann is the guy. The former Director of Football Operations under Saban from 2014-2015, Schumann coached linebackers under Saban before moving with Kirby Smart to Georgia. He has run the defense there since 2019, leading one of the best units in the country.

    It would be a lateral move for Schumann, but a chance to get back to Tuscaloosa and potentially run the defense unencumbered there. It makes sense for Alabama to at least touch base with Schumann to gauge his interest.

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