Nick Saban has had a lot of turnover in his staff since the title game loss to Clemson. Mike Locksley, Josh Gattis, and Dan Enos have all left Alabama for jobs at Power Five Conferences. The exodus of assistants has created openings on his staff, which Saban has filled with a former head coach.
Former Houston head coach Major Applewhite has accepted a position at Alabama to be an analyst, according to a report from AL.com. This is the second time that Applewhite will be on Alabama’s staff as he was the quarterbacks coach in 2007.
The 40-year old head coach had a successful two-year run at Houston as the Cougars went 15-11.
Applewhite was fired after Houston was embarrassed by Army, 70-14, in the Armed Forces Bowl. He did not win a bowl game during his time with the Cougars, despite having future first-round pick Ed Oliver. Applewhite is one of the best offensive minds in the game, helping Houston’s offense be one of the most dynamic offenses in college last season.
He developed D’Eriq King into one of the most underrated quarterbacks in the country last season. Before missing the rest of the season with a torn meniscus, King was leading the nation in total touchdowns with 50. He had four games where he scored at least five touchdowns, including a seven-touchdown performance against South Florida.
Applewhite’s work with King shows that he can develop dual-threat quarterbacks, like rising junior Tua Tagovailoa. The Heisman runner-up had a phenomenal sophomore season with Enos and Locksley coaching him but struggled after injuring his ankle late in the season. Having an offensive mind like Applewhite talking to Tagovailoa can only help Alabama as Saban re-hired Steve Sarkisian to be his offensive coordinator.
The former USC head coach has spent the last two years working with Matt Ryan as he was the Falcons’ offensive coordinator after leaving Alabama in 2016. Applewhite’s role as an analyst is still to be determined, but former head coaches at Alabama have taken jobs at big programs after working for Saban.