This defensive coordinator is not just another hire for Nick Saban
Nick Saban needs a defensive coordinator. Literally because Lane Kiffin may have done himself and his mentor a favor by hiring Pete Golding at Ole Miss. Figuratively because not even the GOAT can go it alone to get Alabama back on top.
Desperately, you might even say, because the side of the ball that's long been Saban's specialty hasn't been all that special for far too long.
Since 2017, to be exact. That's the last time Alabama led the nation in scoring defense. It's the last time Alabama finished in the top 8 in the nation in scoring defense. It's also the last time Alabama's scoring defense finished higher in the national rankings than its scoring offense.
How many national championships has Alabama won in the five seasons since it became better at scoring points than preventing them? Only one, which makes the point. This is the most important hire for Saban since he modernized his offense by rescuing Kiffin's career. It may be the hire that, more than any other decision, defines his final act in this profession.
There are any number of qualified candidates with the potential to make Alabama's defense great again. There is only one potential candidate who's already done it, and as luck would have it, he happens to be unemployed at the moment.
Whether that luck is good or bad may determine whether Saban is willing and able to bring Jeremy Pruitt home.
Read the rest of Kevin's look at whether Alabama can and should hire Pruitt. Only in The Lede.