BamaInsider - The analysts who could step up for Alabama if a coach gets sick
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The analysts who could step up for Alabama if a coach gets sick

Butch Jones is one of four former FBS head coaches serving as analysts for Alabama. Photo | Getty Images
Butch Jones is one of four former FBS head coaches serving as analysts for Alabama. Photo | Getty Images

In the event an Alabama football coach gets sick this season, the Crimson Tide should be covered. Amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, the NCAA will now allow programs to promote analysts to on-field positions if a coach gets sick and is forced to step away from the program.

Under normal circumstances, analysts are prohibited from directly coaching players. The new ruling would allow them to take on such duties during the time when a sick coach is absent.

This is positive news for Alabama, which currently employs four former FBS coaches in off-the-field roles. Here’s a look at who could step up for the Crimson Tide in the unfortunate event that one of its coaches goes down to illness.

Butch Jones 

Previous head coaching stops:

— Tennessee (2013-17)

— Cincinnati (2010-12)

— Central Michigan (2007-09)

Jones is no longer listed as an analyst on Alabama’s coaching staff as he was promoted to special assistant to the head coach in February. Still, the former head coach of Tennessee, Cincinnati and Central Michigan isn’t allowed to directly coach players at the moment.

Despite his infamously mediocre stint at Tennessee, Jones has had plenty of success in his coaching career and is regarded as a great offensive mind. During his two seasons as an offensive analyst at Alabama, he’s helped the Crimson Tide rank No. 2 and No. 3 in scoring offense as well as No. 6 in total offense both years.

Last season, Alabama head coach Nick Saban described Jones’ duties as “administrative-type work,” stating that he does a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff such as film study.

“He always does: What do we need to do on offense for me and his opinion in terms of improving based on film study and things like that,” Saban said. “His role has always sort of been that and he’s done a really, really good job of it. He’s a great person and a great guy to have in your organization.”

Major Applewhite 

Previous head coaching stops:

— Houston (2017-18)

Applewhite served as Saban’s first offensive coordinator at Alabama in 2007 and was brought back by the Crimson Tide as an offensive analyst last year after serving as the head coach at Houston the previous two seasons.

The former Texas quarterback is known for his offensive mind and has served as an offensive coordinator at Texas, Houston and Rice in addition to his first stint at Alabama. During his final year as a head coach at Houston, he helped the Cougars rank No. 5 in the nation in scoring offense at 43.9 points per game.

Charlie Strong 

Previous head coaching stops:

— South Florida (2017-19)

— Texas (2014-16)

— Louisville (2010-13)

Charlie Strong was hired as a defensive analyst in February after spending the past three seasons as the head coach of South Florida. He also has previous head coaching experience at Texas and Louisville and worked as a defensive coordinator under Urban Meyer at Florida.

Strong is one of the best defensive coaches in college football. During his final season as Louisville’s head coach in 2013, he helped the Cardinals finish No. 2 in the nation allowing just 12.2 points per game. During his two national championship games as a defensive coordinator at Florida, his defenses gave up an average of just 14 points and 222.5 yards per game in victories over Ohio State (2007) and Oklahoma (2009).

Mike Stoops 

Previous head coaching stops:

— Arizona (2004-11)

Mike Stoops was brought on as a defensive analyst at Alabama after previously serving as the defensive coordinator at Oklahoma from 2012-18. Before that, he was the head coach at Arizona from 2004-11. Prior to his long head-coaching stint, Stoops served as the co-defensive coordinator for Oklahoma from 1999-2003 where he helped the Sooners win the BCS National Championship in 2000.

In Stoops' first season with Alabama last year, the Crimson Tide ranked No. 13 in scoring defense (18.6 points allowed per game) and No. 21 in total defense (324.4 yards allowed per game).

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