MOBILE — There’s a new face wearing Alabama’s script-A on his chest and it’s a familiar one to Crimson Tide fans.
Former Alabama player Freddie Roach has reportedly been hired to serve as his alma mater’s new defensive line coach, a title he previously held the past three seasons at Ole Miss.
Roach, who was an All-SEC linebacker for the Crimson Tide between 2002-05, is apparently already on the road recruiting for Alabama after a photo of him wearing a long-sleeve Crimson shirt with the script-A on the front was shared by Memphis (Tennessee) Academy head coach Cedric Miller on Tuesday night.
Alabama has yet to formally announce Roach’s hiring, and head coach Nick Saban declined to go into specifics when asked about it during an appearance at Wednesday’s Senior Bowl practice, citing “internal things” as the holdup for any hiring announcement.
“When we get ready to release something on Freddie Roach we’ll do it. There’s always some internal things that have to happen when you hire someone,” Saban said Wednesday. “Freddie’s an Alabama guy, we’d love to have him be a part of our program and hopefully all those things will work out favorably for us.”
This is Roach’s third stint as a member of the Crimson Tide football staff following two years as the team’s director of player development between 2015-16, and his role as an assistant strength coach between 2008-10. Roach also has one-year coaching stints at East Mississippi Community College and Murray State before a two-year run as South Alabama’s defensive ends and linebackers coach between 2013-2014.
Following his run as Alabama’s director of player development, Roach spent the last three years as Ole Miss’ defensive line coach under Matt Luke, and was recently retained by new Rebels head coach Lane Kiffin with the added title as the team’s recruiting coordinator. But not even a pay raise proved enough to keep Roach from returning home when called upon this week. Roach was also believed to be courted by the NFL’s New York Giants before Kiffin’s concerted effort to keep one of the state of Alabama’s top recruiters around Oxford.
Unfortunately for Kiffin and the Rebels, that only lasted for about a week.
Roach was allegedly in Tuscaloosa for an interview Monday when multiple online reports surfaced he’d been hired as Alabama’s new defensive line coach, where he’d replace Brian Baker, who is believed to be a candidate to move into an off-the-field support staff position within the team after just one season with the Tide.
Roach was a four-year letterman and All-SEC linebacker at Alabama, earning freshman All-America status and twice receiving All-SEC consideration during his time in Tuscaloosa. Roach was also named to the school’s All-Decade Team for the 2000s.
Saban has long been a fan of Roach’s efforts both as a recruiter and on-field coach, and has reportedly even coveted him for roles on the Tide staff the last few offseasons.
“They do a really good job up front. They’re very aggressive. They attack. They attack you up front,” Saban said of Ole Miss’ defensive line during the 2017 season, when Roach was in his second season as a Rebels’ position coach. “They use their quickness to their advantage. That’s why they create a lot of negative plays. They play hard. That’s always a positive reflection on the coach.”
Now, it appears, he finally got his man.