Sep 12, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars inside linebackers coach Charlie Strong looks on before the game against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Alabama hires Charlie Strong as defensive analyst

Alabama has hired three-time head coach Charlie Strong as a defensive analyst, Sports Illustrated reported Wednesday.

The move reunites Strong with Kevin Steele; the pair worked together at Miami during the 2022 season. Steele bolted to become the defensive coordinator at Alabama; Strong left after not being given an opportunity to take over the DC job under head coach Mario Cristobal.

Strong, 62, was co-defensive coordinator/linebackers coach for the Hurricanes in 2022.

Strong went 74-53 as head coach at Louisville (2010-13), Texas (2014-16) and South Florida (2017-19). He also coached a game on an interim basis at Florida in 2004.

Strong was assistant head coach and linebackers coach under Urban Meyer with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2021 before joining Cristobal at Miami.

Strong previously served as an analyst for Alabama in 2020.

–Field Level Media

Dec 31, 2022; New Orleans, LA, USA;  Alabama linebacker Will Anderson Jr. (31) pressures Kansas State quarterback Will Howard (18) causing an interception during the 2022 Sugar Bowl at Caesars Superdome. Alabama defeated Kansas State 45-20. Mandatory Credit: Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama OLB Will Anderson Jr. meets with Bears, ready to attack combine

To borrow a phrase from his college coach, Alabama outside linebacker Will Anderson Jr. didn’t come this far to come this far.

Anderson, regarded a surefire top-five pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, has had meetings with the Chicago Bears, Houston Texans and Arizona Cardinals during the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. Those teams own the top three picks in the draft.

“The culture is great there. I can tell they’re onto something special,” Anderson said of his time with the Bears in an interview that took place in a hotel room in the city.

Anderson also said he had was “very excited” about his session with the Texans, who hold the No. 2 pick.

“It means a lot — it just shows all your hard work has been paying off,” Anderson said.

Anderson played outside linebacker in the Alabama 3-4 defense and wasn’t asked to play with his hand in the dirt out of a three-point stance often. He’s been training at defensive end and outside linebacker, and said most teams classify him as an “edge” player with the versatility to rush the passer at either position.

Just 21 years old, Anderson had 10 sacks in 2022 while facing double-team blocks more than 80 percent of passing plays. He had 34.5 career sacks, the kind of production that will get general managers on campus. The Bears and Texans were both on the ground in Tuscaloosa during the 2022 season, but that’s not a rarity for the football factory run by coach Nick Saban.

Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter and Anderson are the top-ranked defensive players in the draft. Anderson tapped the left side of his chest when asked what made him the best of the bunch.

“What you have in here. That’s what carried me to this point in my life. … I feel like what I bring to the table, just consistency, being humble,” Anderson said. “Whatever culture I’m in, I’m going to do things the right way. I think that’s what sets me apart.”

Anderson considers himself a student of the game and has studied former Bears linebacker Khalil Mack, now with the Los Angeles Chargers, and San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa to polish his pass-rush arsenal.

Saban said last month that Anderson and prospective No. 1 overall pick Bryce Young separated themselves at Alabama through their constant competitiveness and football character.

Anderson said Wednesday that’s a big reason he’ll be participating in workouts with linebackers on Thursday. For the record, Young isn’t in the quarterback workouts, preferring to host scouts and general managers at his pro day this month.

“I’m super excited,” Anderson said. “All the work has been good.”

Anderson has found comfort during the Indianapolis speed-dating trial that is the combine, thanks to 13 total Crimson Tide players being on the invite list for the event.

Young, Anderson, linebacker Henry To’oTo’o and safety Brian Branch all rank in the Field Level Media Top 50, and running back Jahmyr Gibbs also could be drafted in the first two rounds.

–Field Level Media

Jul 20, 2022; Atlanta, GA, USA; The Florida Gators helmet on the stage during SEC Media Days at the College Football Hall of Fame. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Florida hires Alabama’s Austin Armstrong as DC

Florida moved quickly Wednesday to hire Austin Armstrong as its defensive coordinator following the departure of Patrick Toney to the Arizona Cardinals, On3 reported.

The past month has been a whirlwind for Armstrong, who accepted the job at inside linebackers coach at Alabama last month but only was officially announced by coach Nick Saban nine days ago.

Prior to joining the Crimson Tide, Armstrong spent the past two years as defensive coordinator at Southern Miss, and he said all the right things when he was introduced at Alabama.

“Growing up in West Alabama the opportunity to coach at The University of Alabama is a dream come true,” Armstrong said, per USA Today. “I have admired what Coach Saban has built in Tuscaloosa and the long history of tradition and success this program has enjoyed. I am excited to get to work as we continue the legacy of success that is synonymous with Alabama football.”

A move to Florida would reunite Armstrong with Billy Napier, who hired Armstrong at Louisiana. When he moved onto Southern Miss after the 2020 season, Armstrong became the youngest defensive coordinator in the FBS at 28.

Napier didn’t confirm Armstrong’s hiring but did announce the departure of Toney to the Cardinals’ defensive staff.

“We would like to congratulate Patrick Toney on his new challenge & opportunity in the National Football League,” Napier said in a statement. “PT has been a pivotal part of our success over the last five years. He has set a great example and been a relentless worker and learner. He is a selfless teammate and one of the finest coaches and teachers we have ever been around.”

–Field Level Media

Jun 3, 2019; Costa Mesa, CA, USA; Los Angeles Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt during organized team activities at the Hoag Performance Center.Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama adds Ken Whisenhunt to Nick Saban’s staff

Ken Whisenhunt, a longtime NFL head coach, is now a part of the Alabama staff under head coach Nick Saban.

Multiple media outlets noted on Wednesday that Whisenhunt was added to the Crimson Tide’s staff directory as a special assistant to Saban.

The college game won’t be unfamiliar to Whisenhunt, as he spent the past two years as an offensive analyst for Penn State.

Whisenhunt, 60, was an NFL coach from 1997-2019, including stints as the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals and the Tennessee Titans.

He guided the Cardinals from 2007-2012, producing a 45-51 regular-season record. Arizona got to the playoffs twice in his tenure and reached the Super Bowl after the 2008 season before losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Whisenhunt led the Titans to a 2-14 record in 2014, and when the team started 1-6 the next year, he was fired.

He also had stints as an assistant coach with the Baltimore Ravens (1997-98), Cleveland Browns (1999), New York Jets (2000), Pittsburgh (2001-06) and the San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers (2013, 2016-19).

At Alabama, Whisenhunt fills the vacancy left when Drew Svoboda exited after last season to become the special teams coordinator at North Texas.

Whisenhunt had a seven-season NFL career as a tight end for the Atlanta Falcons (1985-88), Washington (1990) and the New York Jets (1991-92). He caught 62 passes for 596 yards and five touchdowns in 74 games (44 starts).

The Crimson Tide also added John Aylward to their staff, according to the Birmingham (Ala.) News. Per the report, Aylward worked for Notre Dame the past two years, as an offensive analyst in 2021 and as an offensive graduate assistant last season.

–Field Level Media

Auburn defensive coordinator Kevin Steele in first half action against Alabama in the Iron Bowl at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala., on Saturday, November 30, 2019.


Report: Kevin Steele accepts deal to be Alabama’s next DC

After one season at Miami, Kevin Steele has agreed to a deal to return to Alabama as the Crimson Tide’s defensive coordinator, ESPN reported Sunday night.

Steele, 64, will be entering his third stint with Alabama under Nick Saban after serving as DC in 2007 and defensive head coach/inside linebackers coach in 2008. He returned to the program in 2013 as director of player personnel and was also linebackers coach in 2014 before one season as the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at LSU.

The Crimson Tide now have both of their coordinator positions filled, as Tommy Rees was hired from Notre Dame on Friday to take over as OC. Steele will be replacing Pete Golding, who took the DC job at Ole Miss.

With 39 years of coaching experience, Steele was also Clemson’s defensive coordinator from 2009-11 and Auburn’s from 2016-20. He has also served as a linebackers coach for New Mexico State (1983), Oklahoma State (1984-86), Nebraska (1989-94), the NFL’s Carolina Panthers (1995-98), Florida State (2003-06) and Clemson (2009-11).

Steele was also head coach at Baylor for four seasons (1999-2002). The Bears went 9-36 under him, and he holds an all-time head coaching record of 9-37 after briefly serving as interim head coach at Auburn in 2020.

–Field Level Media

Notre Dame's Michael Mayer and offensive coordinator Tommy Rees prior to Notre Dame Fall Practice on Friday, August 12, 2022, at Irish Athletics Center in South Bend, Indiana.

Ncaa Foorball 2022 Notre Dame Fall Practice

Reports: Alabama hires Tommy Rees as OC

Alabama is hiring Tommy Rees as its offensive coordinator, multiple outlets reported Friday.

Rees, most recently the offensive coordinator at Notre Dame, will replace Bill O’Brien on coach Nick Saban’s staff. O’Brien left to become offensive coordinator of the New England Patriots.

Saban turned his attention to Rees after reportedly being told by Ryan Grubb, the offensive coordinator of Washington, and Akron head coach Joe Moorhead that they weren’t interested.

Rees, 30, turned down an opportunity to join former Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly at LSU when he left for Baton Rouge in late 2021. Rees remained OC on Marcus Freeman’s first-year staff in 2022.

Rees had preliminary discussions with Saban before boarding an Alabama Crimson Tide private plane on Thursday in South Bend, Ind., according to The Athletic.

The Irish ranked No. 60 in all of FBS in total offense in 2022 with 396.2 yards per game.

A former Notre Dame quarterback, Rees threw for 7,670 yards and 61 touchdowns against 37 interceptions in 47 games from 2010-13. Rees joined Notre Dame’s staff as quarterbacks coach in 2017 before being elevated to offensive coordinator in 2020.

–Field Level Media

Apr 23, 2022; Notre Dame, Indiana, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish offensive coordinator Tommy Rees talks to quarterback Drew Pyne (10) during warmups before the Blue-Gold Game at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Tommy Rees interviewing for Alabama OC post

Notre Dame offensive coordinator Tommy Rees is in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Thursday interviewing for the offensive coordinator post at Alabama, multiple outlets reported.

Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban is trying to replace Bill O’Brien, who returned to the New England Patriots to be their OC.

Saban turned his attention to Rees after reportedly getting turned down by Ryan Grubb of Washington and Akron head coach Joe Moorhead.

Rees, 30, turned down an opportunity to join former Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly at LSU when he left for Baton Rouge in late 2021. Rees remained OC on Marcus Freeman’s first-year staff in 2022.

Rees had preliminary discussions with Saban before boarding an Alabama Crimson Tide private plane in South Bend, Ind., on Thursday, according to The Athletic.

Notre Dame ranked No. 60 in all of FBS in total offense this past season.

Rees threw for 7,670 yards and 61 touchdowns against 37 interceptions in 47 games for Notre Dame from 2010-13. Rees first joined Notre Dame as quarterbacks coach in 2017 before being elevated to OC in 2020.

–Field Level Media

Jan 10, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; A detailed view of the Alabama Crimson Tide logo during the 2022 CFP college football national championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Former Alabama, Broncos RB Ahmaad Galloway dies at 42

Former Alabama and Denver Broncos running back Ahmaad Galloway died in Missouri at age 42.

Galloway, who played running back for the Crimson Tide and was selected by Denver in the seventh round of the 2003 NFL Draft, was an English teacher at a St. Louis middle school.

Police and emergency response found Galloway during a welfare check at his apartment after he didn’t come to work or respond to the principal concerned about his whereabouts, she said Thursday.

Galloway’s apartment was not disturbed, Compton-Drew Middle School principal Susan Reid told WVTM in Missouri.

“… So we are thinking that it could have been a medical issue,” Reid told the outlet.

Galloway played a significant role in the Alabama backfield as a sophomore and junior, following NFL first-round pick Shaun Alexander at running back.

A knee injury knocked Galloway out of his senior season. He totaled 1,540 yards and 13 touchdowns as a sophomore and junior.

–Field Level Media

Georgia coach Kirby Smart celebrates after winning the NCAA College Football National Championship game between TCU and Georgia on Monday, Jan. 9, 2023, in Inglewood, Calif. Georgia won 65-7.

News Joshua L Jones

Top dogs: Georgia No. 1, TCU, Michigan, Ohio State follow in final poll

TCU finished runner-up in the national championship game and the Horned Frogs were No. 2 behind Georgia in the final AP Top 25 poll released Tuesday.

The Bulldogs (15-0) began the season ranked third and defended their national title on Monday night in a 65-7 rout to cap the first repeat in College Football Playoff history.

Georgia received all 63 first-place votes.

TCU (13-2) was unranked to begin the 2022 regular season but won 13 games to reach the championship game. Michigan (13-1), which lost in the CFP semifinals to TCU, finished third in the Top 25 ahead of Ohio State (11-2), Alabama (11-2), Tennessee (11-2), Penn State (11-2) and Washington (11-2). The Huskies finished the season with seven consecutive wins. UW is ranked in the final poll for the first time since 2018.

Ranked No. 1 entering the season, the Crimson Tide beat Kansas State 45-20 in the Sugar Bowl with their only losses this season to sixth-ranked Tennessee (52-49) and LSU (32-31). The Tigers (10-4) landed at No. 16 in the season-ending poll.

Alabama was the last team to finish consecutive seasons ranked No. 1 (2011, 2012).

No. 9 Tulane (12-2) moved up five spots on the strength of the Green Wave victory over USC in the Cotton Bowl. The 46-45 loss dropped the Trojans (11-3) four spots to No. 12.

–Field Level Media

Jan 9, 2023; Inglewood, CA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs head coach Kirby Smart looks on before the CFP national championship game against the TCU Horned Frogs at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Georgia opens as big favorite for CFP three-peat

Georgia coach Kirby Smart discussed the culture in and around the program that has set the Bulldogs up for long-term success competing at the top of the college football world.

That was last week, before Georgia went out and waxed TCU 65-7 on Monday night to claim its second consecutive College Football Playoff title.

“We’ve had a saying around our place for a long time that probability is not reality,” Smart said in the lead-up to the TCU game. “So, we don’t control what people say and probability. Reality is what happens on the field in between those lines. That’s what takes a lot more courage than just putting out probability.”

The reality is Georgia is now considered the class of the college football world. Accordingly, the Bulldogs have already been installed as the +275 favorite by DraftKings and the +300 favorite by FanDuel to three-peat next season.

How the pecking order falls after that differs, however.

DraftKings had SEC rival Alabama at +500 followed by Ohio State at +800, Michigan at +1000, and Clemson and Southern California tying for the fifth spot at +1400. Meanwhile, Ohio State joined Alabama at +700 at Alabama, followed by Michigan at +800 and USC at +1200 on FanDuel.

TCU, which fell one win short of completing its Cinderella story, opened at +5000 at both sportsbooks.

2023-24 CFP Title Odds (DraftKings)
Georgia (+275)
Alabama (+500)
Michigan (+800)
Ohio State (+800)
Clemson (+1200)
USC (+1500)
Tennessee (+2000)
Florida State (+2000)
Texas (+2200)
LSU (+2500)
Penn State (+2800)
Notre Dame (+3000)
Oregon (+3000)
Utah (+4000)
Washington (+4000)
Texas A&M (+5000)
Oklahoma (+5000)
TCU (+5000)

–Field Level Media