HOOVER, Ala. — Alabama football losses are rare. Beatdown losses are rarer still. So when it happens — in the national championship game, of all times — it becomes a six-month topic of conversation.
This is why Nick Saban spent a significant portion of his Wednesday appearance at Southeastern Conference media days discussing the fallout from Clemson 44, Alabama 16. Nobody has forgotten what happened on that shocking night in Santa Clara, California last January.
The ongoing autopsy took a surprising turn after Saban’s podium appearance here. When he went on the SEC Network with Paul Finebaum, he laid specific blame on his assistant coaches. This was the exchange between the two:
“When the season started, I think we were great,” Saban said. “When we won the LSU game [in November], it just seemed like people’s own agendas started to become more important.”
“Coaches or players?” Finebaum asked.
“Coaching,” Saban responded. “We had a lot of guys who wanted to be head coaches at different places. It takes a special person to stay focused on what they have to do now when they have a job somewhere else that’s awaiting them and they have a responsibility on staffs.
“I’m not being critical of those people. It’s just very challenging. And we had a lot of that on our staff last year.”
Well then. Are the ears of Mike Locksley (now head coach at Maryland), Josh Gattis (offensive coordinator at Michigan), Tosh Lupoi (defensive line coach for the Cleveland Browns), Dan Enos (offensive coordinator at Miami) and Brent Key (offensive line coach at Georgia Tech) burning? Those were the departures from the 2018 staff, part of the annual turnover that has become a hallmark of recent Alabama teams.
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