Pete Goldin, an easy target for Alabama fans this season, has left Alabama for the Ole Miss, but who will reassure the masses as the next Alabama defensive coordinator?
Paul Finebaum knew of one man who would muster an army while enraging a longtime opponent.
“As crazy as it sounds, I think Jeremy Pruitt might calm people down,” Finebaum said Monday as a guest on JOX 94.5 FM’s McElroy and Cubelic. “It’s funny how a name can totally cheer people up in Tennessee, but in Alabama, Jeremy Pruitt is comfort food.”
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In 2016, Pruitt replaced Kirby Smart as Tuscaloosa’s defensive coordinator. The team leads the nation in scoring defense and rush defense and ranks second in total defense. The following year, Alabama ranked second in total defense and first in scoring defense during the regular season.
“It’s going back to a time when Alabama’s defense was dominant,” said the SEC Network analyst. “Again, when I say dominant we mean the top, not the top.
“All these narratives that people have been trying to contend with over the past few months are going to come true.”
The bigger issue, according to Finebaum, is the perception that Alabama coach Nick Saban is somehow behind.
“I saw a headline, ‘Can Nick Saban get his mojo back?’ Suddenly, it seemed like Alabama was No. 1 in the country yesterday, and Alabama was cruising through the preseason. Now, Kirby Smart is going for a three-peat. That’s how fast things change.
“Whether that’s reality or not, the perception is that Nick Saban is swimming against the tide, trying to catch up and get his head above the water.
“I’m not sure if that’s true, whether it’s true or not, people’s perceptions are out there.”
Markheim is a sports reporter for the Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @Mark_Heim.