Jan 8, 2024; Houston, TX, USA; Washington Huskies tight ends coach Nick Sheridan against the Michigan Wolverines during the 2024 College Football Playoff national championship game at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama names Nick Sheridan as OC, JaMarcus Shephard as co-OC

Alabama football made two personnel moves to replace one coach who didn’t stay for long.

Alabama named Nick Sheridan its offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach on Tuesday while announcing JaMarcus Shephard as the Crimson Tide’s new assistant head coach, co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach.

The hires come after Ryan Grubb, who originally signed on as Alabama’s offensive coordinator under new head coach Kalen DeBoer, accepted the same position with the Seattle Seahawks instead. Grubb worked for DeBoer as Washington’s offensive coordinator and chose to remain in Seattle.

“Nick and JaMarcus are both fantastic coaches, and we are excited to have them join us at Alabama,” DeBoer said in a statement. “They have experience in our offense, and they know what we are trying to accomplish on that side of the football. They both bring passion and enthusiasm to their work and have proven to be excellent teachers and recruiters at every stop of their careers.”

Sheridan, 35, recently was hired as the tight ends coach at Alabama after filling the same role for DeBoer at Washington in 2022-23. A former quarterback at Michigan, Sheridan’s only offensive coordinator experience came at Indiana in 2020-21.

Shephard, 40, is known for working with star wide receivers Rome Odunze and Ja’Lynn Polk at Washington, where he spent two years on DeBoer’s offensive coaching staff.

–Field Level Media

Jan 1, 2024; Pasadena, CA, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide offensive lineman Kadyn Proctor (74) blocks Michigan Wolverines defensive lineman Mason Graham (55) during the first half in the 2024 Rose Bowl college football playoff semifinal game at Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Former Alabama OT Kadyn Proctor transfer home to Iowa

Former Alabama offensive lineman Kadyn Proctor announced Saturday that he is transferring to his home-state Iowa Hawkeyes.

The 6-foot-7, 360-pound Proctor started all 14 games at left tackle for the Crimson Tide as a true freshman in 2023. He was selected to the Southeastern Conference All-Freshman first team by the league’s coaches.

Proctor, a native of Des Moines, Iowa, starred at Southeast Polk High, where he was a five-star recruit and the No. 9 player in the country.

He was top-ranked in Iowa and No. 1 at his position, per the 247Sports Composite. He initially committed to Iowa before flipping just before the early signing period in December to Alabama, where he enrolled early in January 2023.

Following the retirement of Alabama’s Nick Saban and hiring of new head coach Kalen DeBoer, Proctor entered the transfer portal Jan. 17 and was ranked by 247Sports as the top offensive tackle and No. 2 player available in the portal.

His exit follows former Tide freshman safety Caleb Downs, who led the team with 107 tackles last season in earning All-SEC and national freshman of the year honors. Downs decided to join Ohio State.

Another safety, Jake Pope, transferred back to his home state of Georgia after playing 11 games on special teams at Alabama in 2023.

Linebacker Shawn Murphy became the fifth Crimson Tide transfer to commit to Florida State on Monday. Cornerback Earl Little Jr. and running back Roydell Williams also joined the Seminoles from Alabama.

–Field Level Media

South Alabama Jaguars head coach Kane Wommack celebrates after a score against the UCLA Bruins in the second half at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Alabama hires S. Alabama head coach to run defense

South Alabama head coach Kane Wommack resigned Tuesday morning and is expected to be hired as the new defensive coordinator at Alabama, according to multiple reports.

Wommack, 36, would rejoin new Crimson Tide head coach Kalen DeBoer, who worked with Wommack on the coaching staff at Indiana in 2019.

Wommack guided the Jaguars to bowl games in two of his three seasons at South Alabama. In 2020 at Indiana, Wommack was a finalist for the Broyles Award as the top assistant coach in college football.

“I deeply appreciate Kane’s service to our program, university and city,” South Alabama director of athletics Joel Erdmann said Tuesday morning in a statement. “His efforts propelled us forward and we wish him and (wife) Melissa (Wommack) the very best.”

South Alabama was 15th in the nation in total defense in 2023, giving up 313.2 yards per game, and ranked in the top 27 in points allowed each of the past two seasons (21.3 points per game in 2022; 21.0 points per game in ‘23).

Travaris Robinson interviewed with DeBoer last week but was elevated to co-defensive coordinator at Georgia and opted to stay with the Bulldogs.

A handful of former Nick Saban assistant coaches are expected to stay.

DeBoer is widely expected to bring his offensive coordinator at Washington, Ryan Grubb, to Tuscaloosa in the same role.

Wommack’s father, Dave, was defensive coordinator in the SEC at Mississippi from 2012-16, when Kane Wommack worked as a graduate assistant and then defensive backs coach.

–Field Level Media

Jan 1, 2024; Pasadena, CA, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban walks the sideline during the first half against the Michigan Wolverines in the 2024 Rose Bowl college football playoff semifinal game at Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Nick Saban healthy, mental grind became unsustainable with age

Health issues were not a factor in Nick Saban retiring as head coach at Alabama.

“In hiring coaches and recruiting players, my age started to become an issue. People wanted assurances I’d be here … three years, five years, and it became harder to be honest about it,” Saban said Thursday in an ESPN interview. “And to be honest, this last season was grueling. It was a real grind for us to come from where we stared to where we got to. It took a little more out of me than usual. When people mentioned the health issue, it was really just the grind of, ‘can you do this the way you want to do it?’ Can you do this the way you’ve always done it and be able to do it, and sustain it for the entire season.

“If I couldn’t make a commitment to do that in the future the way I have to do it, I thought maybe this was the right time based on those two sets of circumstances.”

Saban reiterated “There’s no illness. Miss Terry is fine, I’m fine. When I was young, I could work until 2 in the morning and be back at 6. When you get a little older, that gets tougher. I’m sure people can relate to that.”

Saban, 72, won six of his seven national titles in his 17 seasons at Alabama, tying the school mark set by Bear Bryant. He finishes with a career mark of 297-71-1, 206 of those wins coming at Alabama (with 29 losses).

“I don’t think there’s any good time, especially when you’re a coach. When you’re a coach, you think you’re going to coach forever,” Saban told ESPN.

He led the Crimson Tide to nine Southeastern Conference championships.

Saban’s Alabama teams missed the College Football Playoff just twice in 10 years of its existence while winning three national championships.

“Simply put, Nick Saban is one of the greatest coaches of all time, in any sport, and the University of Alabama is fortunate to have had him leading our football program for the past 17 seasons,” Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne said. ” He is the consummate coach, mentor and leader, and his impact is felt far beyond the football field.

Players learned directly from Saban of his decision on Wednesday at 4 p.m. Saban said it was important to him for every player to hear the news from him, and not wonder how much they meant to him because others reported the massive news before a team meeting.

NCAA rules permit players 30 days to enter the transfer portal following the change at head coach.

Byrne told players he hopes to have a good idea of Saban’s replacement with 72 hours.

–Field Level Media

Alabama defensive coordinator Kevin Steele speaks to members of the media Sunday, August 6, 2023.

Report: Alabama DC Kevin Steele to retire

Kevin Steele, a former head coach at Baylor who had three different stints on Alabama’s defensive staff during a 40-year coaching career, is planning to retire, ESPN reported Monday night.

Steele spent the 2023 season as Alabama’s defensive coordinator, leaving a high-profile opening for Nick Saban to fill on his staff.

Steele will turn 66 in March and has nearly spent his entire adult life coaching football, almost exclusively at the Division I college level apart from joining the expansion Carolina Panthers as their linebackers coach for four years.

After his stay with the Panthers, Steele was hired by Baylor in 1999. The Bears went 9-36 and just 1-31 in the Big 12 during his four seasons.

Steele played linebacker at Tennessee and began his coaching career there as a student and graduate assistant. He went on to work for three other Southeastern Conference programs — Alabama, Auburn and LSU.

Steele was Alabama’s defensive coordinator in 2007 and defensive head coach/inside linebackers coach in 2008. He was director of player personnel for the Crimson Tide in 2013 and linebackers coach in 2014.

After serving as defensive coordinator for LSU (2015), Auburn (2016-20) and Miami (2022), Alabama hired him away from the Hurricanes for the 2023 season.

Alabama reached the College Football Playoff as the No. 4 seed and lost to No. 1 Michigan in the Rose Bowl semifinal last week.

–Field Level Media

Jan 1, 2024; Pasadena, CA, USA; Michigan Wolverines running back Blake Corum (2) scores a touchdown past Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker Deontae Lawson (32) and defensive back Caleb Downs (2) in the 2nd quarter of the 2024 Rose Bowl college football playoff semifinal game at Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

No. 1 Michigan rallies to beat No. 4 Alabama in OT Rose Bowl thriller

Blake Corum ran for the winning touchdown in overtime and top-seeded Michigan advanced to the College Football Playoff national championship game with a 27-20 overtime victory over fourth-seeded Alabama on Monday in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.

Corum rushed for 83 yards and also caught a touchdown pass as Michigan (14-0) won a CFP contest for the first time. J.J. McCarthy completed 17 of 27 passes for 221 yards and three touchdowns for the Wolverines.

Michigan will face either second-seeded Washington or third-seeded Texas in the national championship game on Jan. 8 in Houston. The Huskies and Longhorns meet later Monday night in the Sugar Bowl.

The Crimson Tide (12-2) had an opportunity to force a second overtime but Jalen Milroe was stopped for a gain of 1 on a fourth-down keeper from the 3-yard line, prompting Michigan to go wild celebrating its victory.

Jase McClellan rushed for 87 yards and two touchdowns for Alabama. Milroe was 16-of-23 passing for 116 yards and added 63 yards on the ground.

Corum handled the ball on both of Michigan’s overtime plays. He ran for 8 yards on the first carry before bursting through on the go-ahead 17-yard scoring run.

Tyler Morris and Roman Wilson also caught touchdown passes for Michigan. Braiden McGregor had two sacks for the Wolverines, who outgained the Crimson Tide 351-288.

Alabama took a 17-13 lead on the second play of the fourth quarter when McClellan scored from the 3.

The Crimson Tide later worked the clock for 5:49 and took a 20-13 lead when Will Reichard kicked a 52-yard field goal with 4:41 left in regulation.

The Wolverines converted on fourth-and-2 from their own 33 on the tying eight-play, 75-yard touchdown drive. McCarthy capped it with a 4-yard scoring pass to Wilson with 1:34 remaining to set up the third overtime game of the CFP era.

Michigan outgained Alabama 197-96 in the first half en route to a 13-10 lead at the break.

The Crimson Tide struck first after their touchdown was set up on a fumbled punt return by the Wolverines’ Semaj Morgan. Quandarrius Robinson recovered at the Michigan 44-yard line. Four plays later, McClellan broke loose for a 34-yard scoring run with 9:41 left in the first quarter.

Michigan tied the score five-plus minutes later when McCarthy tossed an 8-yard touchdown pass to Corum.

The Wolverines took a 13-7 lead when McCarthy hit Morris on a 38-yard scoring play. However, William Wagner’s errant snap got past holder Tommy Doman to leave Michigan up by six with 3:49 left in the half.

Reichard booted a 50-yard field goal with seven seconds left in the half to bring Alabama within three.

–Field Level Media

Oct 21, 2023; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Jalen Milroe (4) gets sacked behind the line of scrimmage by Tennessee Volunteers defensive lineman Omarr Norman-Lott (55) during the first half at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Second-half surge carries No. 11 Alabama past No. 17 Tennessee

Jalen Milroe passed for two touchdowns, Jihaad Campbell returned a fumble for a score and No. 11 Alabama overcame a 13-point halftime deficit to record a 34-20 victory over No. 17 Tennessee in Southeastern Conference play on Saturday at Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Jase McClellan rushed for 115 yards and one touchdown on 27 carries to help the Crimson Tide (7-1, 5-0 SEC) win their sixth consecutive game. Isaiah Bond and Jermaine Burton caught scoring passes and Chris Braswell had two sacks for Alabama, which scored 27 unanswered points in the second half.

Joe Milton III was 28-of-41 passing for 271 yards and two touchdowns and added 59 rushing yards for Tennessee (5-2, 2-2), which had a three-game winning streak halted. Squirrel White had 10 receptions for 111 yards and one touchdown and McCallan Castles also had a scoring catch for the Volunteers.

Alabama has won 16 of the past 17 meetings with Tennessee.

Milroe completed 14 of 21 passes for 220 yards and an interception. The Crimson Tide defense stopped Tennessee on three fourth-down opportunities.

The Volunteers have lost 10 straight games at Tuscaloosa.

McClellan began the third quarter with a 29-yard run and Milroe followed with a 46-yard touchdown pass to Bond to bring the Crimson Tide within 20-14.

Will Reichard kicked a 42-yard field goal with 8:33 left in the third to make it a three-point game. McClellan later scored on a 5-yard run to give Alabama its first lead — 24-20 with 3:42 left in the period.

Reichard tacked on a 50-yard field goal to make it a seven-point margin with 8:17 left in the game. That stretched his streak of consecutive makes to 28.

On Tennessee’s next possession, Braswell rushed in to sack Milton and force a fumble. Campbell picked up the ball and raced 24 yards for a touchdown to give the Crimson Tide a 34-20 lead with 7:26 remaining.

Tennessee outgained Alabama 187-36 in the opening quarter while taking a 13-0 lead.

The Volunteers opened the game with an eight-play, 75-yard drive that was capped by White’s spectacular 39-yard TD grab.

Charles Campbell kicked field goals of 24 and 26 yards later in the period for the Volunteers. The second was set up by a strip-sack from James Pearce Jr., with Omarr Lott recovering Milroe’s fumble at the Alabama 23.

The Crimson Tide got on the board when Milroe threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Burton with 7:05 left in the second quarter. Tennessee restored the lead to 13 when Milton tossed a 6-yard scoring pass to Castles with 12 seconds remaining in the first half.

–Field Level Media

Sep 2, 2023; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Tyler Buchner (8) scrambles up the field against the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders during the second half at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: No. 10 Alabama makes quarterback switch

Quarterback Tyler Buchner will replace Jalen Milroe when No. 10 Alabama visits South Florida on Saturday, multiple outlets reported Friday.

Buchner, a transfer from Notre Dame, followed new offensive coordinator Tommy Rees to Tuscaloosa, Ala., in the offseason. He lost a preseason battle to Milroe to replace departed All-America QB Bryce Young, but Buchner has been taking most of the first-team snaps this week in practice, per reports.

Milroe started the first two games for the Crimson Tide (1-1), including last Saturday’s 34-24 loss at home to then-No. 11 Texas, which rose to No. 4 after the upset win. Milroe completed 14 of 27 passes for 255 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.

Alabama coach Nick Saban said after the defeat that he considered playing another quarterback. Buchner played as a reserve in the Sept. 2 season opener, a 56-7 home victory over Middle Tennessee, and completed 3 of 5 passes for 27 yards and rushed for a 9-yard touchdown.

“We evaluate every position every week. If guys want security in their position, they need to play well,” Saban said Wednesday. “Everybody on our team knows that. I think everybody has responded in a positive way to try to get better and to improve. We’ll constantly evaluate that position as we do every other position.”

A redshirt sophomore, Buchner spent the 2021-22 seasons at Notre Dame, playing in 10 games as a freshman and making three starts as a sophomore before a shoulder injury ended his season.

He passed for 949 yards, six touchdowns and eight interceptions with the Fighting Irish. Buchner also rushed 82 times for 459 yards and seven TDs.

Milroe, a redshirt sophomore who started one game in 2022, is 27-for-45 for 449 yards with five touchdowns and two picks this season.

–Field Level Media

Sep 9, 2023; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban cheers on his players before their game against the Texas Longhorns at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

No. 10 Alabama fixates on fixes after 10-point loss to Texas

Texas knocked the Crimson Tide down to 10th in the latest Top 25 poll and head coach Nick Saban spent his Sunday spreading one message to his team: Where Alabama goes from here is up to them.

The end of a 21-game home nonconference winning streak and a top-five ranking fade in the rear view as Saban attempts to point the Crimson Tide’s attention on what’s next.

He likened the aftermath of the loss to the Longhorns to counseling a player after a rough test in a class early in the semester.

“We didn’t grade out very well on the test, so what are we going to do to get a better grade?” Saban said. “I think that’s what we have to really learn and grow from and make a commitment to. I think our players with the kind of character and attitude that we’ve shown so far as a team, I think they’ll respond the right way. And I think the coaches will do the same.”

The Crimson Tide sustained self-inflicted wounds in the 34-24 defeat, atypical mistakes for a Saban-coached club. They included 10 penalties, two of which nullified touchdowns, and near constant pressure on quarterback Jalen Milroe, who completed 14 of 27 passes for 255 yards with two interceptions.

“I don’t know that … we had much of an identity,” Saban said. “I think we started out early in the game being able to run the ball effectively and did not mix up the play-action pass to complement the run game. And eventually it got harder and harder to run the ball.”

Alabama (1-1) plays at South Florida this week and kicks off SEC play Sept. 23 facing another former assistant coach when Lane Kiffin escorts No. 17 Ole Miss into town. Saban has lost consecutive games to former assistants Kirby Smart and Steve Sarkisian.

Speaking Monday before practice, Saban was preparing to welcome the team to a mass film session to review the Texas loss. It was the first time Saban and players were together since postgame Saturday night. But he already felt like he knew what the collective response would be this week.

“I would be shocked if these guys don’t come in here today with the attitude that we’re going to go out there and try to improve and get better,” he said. “And the future is now. We’ve got to do it now — that’s the main thing.”

–Field Level Media

Sep 2, 2023; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA;  Alabama Crimson Tide defensive back Malachi Moore (13) and defensive back Caleb Downs (2) combine to tackle Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders wide receiver Elijah Metcalf (9) during the first half at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

Two Alabama DBs uncertain for Texas showdown

The Alabama secondary could be short-handed for Saturday’s showdown against Texas and quarterback Quinn Ewers.

Starting defensive backs Malachi Moore and Jaylen Key both left the No. 4 Crimson Tide’s season opening 56-7 win against Middle Tennessee with undisclosed injuries.

“They’re both day-to-day,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said Monday. “So, it’s probably too early to tell what their circumstance will be. Probably be a couple of days and we’ll figure it out. But I don’t think either guy has long-term issues. But it will be interesting to see how they progress this week.”

Moore was a preseason All-SEC selection and Key was All-Conference USA honorable mention last year at UAB.

The Crimson Tide (1-0) host No. 11 Texas (1-0) this Saturday in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Ewers guided the Longhorns to a 37-10 win against Rice on Saturday in Austin, completing 19 of 30 passes for 260 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for a score.

“They have a good team,” he said. “They have a veteran team returning with 10 starters on offense, six on defense. Really good skill players on offense. Really good quarterback who can throw the ball effectively. They make a lot of explosive plays.”

Alabama won at Texas 20-19 last September on a late 33-yard field goal by Will Reichard.

Saban also said wide receiver and special teams player Emmanuel Henderson, who did not play in the opener, will be sidelined for multiple weeks with a hip injury.

–Field Level Media