Alabama Football: Somehow, the Tide keep upgrading

Alabama football has found it’s new defensive line coach. After the departure of Karl Dunbar for the NFL, the Tide have hired Craig Kuligowski.

It isn’t fair. It just isn’t fair. Somehow, the Tide keep upgrading. Every time attrition tries to kill Alabama football, it only grows back stronger.

The most recent example of this came on the defensive line. Karl Dunbar, longtime NFL coach, decided to return to the league and take a job with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Surely, this would be a massive loss for the Tide, right?

In what has become typical Alabama fashion, they were fine. On Monday, Bruce Feldman reported that Miami DL coach Craig Kuligowski would be taking the same position in Tuscaloosa.

 

Unkillable

In most forms of entertainment, storylines and narratives tend to be drastically similar. Whether it be sports, movies, or mythology, there is always a parallel that can be drawn between two works. To find Alabama’s parallel, just look at Hercules.

One of the foes that Hercules must conquer is the Hydra, a serpent-like monster with nine heads. Simple enough, right? There’s one catch. Every time that Hercules cuts off one head, two grow back.

That is Alabama’s mythological parallel. Great, experienced defensive line coach leaves for the NFL? They hire arguably the best coach at that position in the entire sport.

Cut off one head, two grow back.

This isn’t a new trend for Saban. When Kirby Smart, his long time defensive coordinator departed for Georgia, the Tide didn’t miss a beat. Smart’s replacement, Jeremy Pruitt, coached well enough to be a head coach at a high profile SEC school within a couple years of his hiring.

Cut off one head, two grow back.

Alabama football reloads, not rebuilds

Every season, Alabama football loses key players at key positions. Every year, the college football world wonders if those losses could be the death knell in Tuscaloosa. Somehow, they never are.

When Mark Ingram left for the NFL, Trent Richardson took over as the primary running back. There was no drop-off. After Richardson, there was, again, no drop-off with Eddie Lacy. Two years later, Derrick Henry won the Heisman trophy.

The same thing happens on the defensive side of the ball. How could Alabama possibly move on after losing a draft class that included Mark Barron, Dre Kirkpatrick. Dont’a Hightower, and Courtney Upshaw? Saban’s team won a national title the very next season.

Cut off one head, two grow back.

In the National Championship Game against Georgia, the Hydra theory played itself out in 60 minutes. The Bulldogs were so dominate that Jalen Hurts, usually composed and efficient, was awful. Saban was forced to go to his backup. That freshman, Tua Tagovailoa, led a comeback and became the talk of the college football world.

Cut off one… You get the point.

The end?

At a certain point, Hercules figures out how to slay the Hydra. Like all great dynasties, this Saban run will end.

While that will eventually come, many have been drastically premature in predicting it. At this point, every time Alabama football wins a National Championship, the Tide faithful make a point of circulating this video on social media:

The longevity of Saban is truly unreal. At of lot of key crossroads in the last decade, it looked as though the Tide may be done. In 2013, Gus Malzahn’s innovative offense really did seem like the next big thing. When Ole Miss beat Alabama two times in a row, it seemed as though maybe there were cracks in the armor.

Clemson reached the National Championship twice, and split with Alabama football. Had Dabo Swinney’s Tigers taken over the sport? Not quite, they were held to only two field goals by the Tide in this year’s semi-final.

At a time when it’s never been harder to sustain a great football program, Saban has consistently fended off every competitor. Every school has great facilities. Programs have scholarship limits. Social media has leveled the playing field in terms of exposure.

Despite all of those hurdles, every innovation, every coaching change, somehow, nothing has ended this run.

Outside of father time, it’s hard to imagine that anything can.