The Alabama football job has to be one of the most coveted in all of sports because of what it was turned into by Nick Saban. It's just a well-oiled machine and every high school recruit in the country dreams about one day being offered by the Tide.
So when Kalen DeBoer took the job, replacing Saban after he retired following the season, it felt like the former Washington head coach had it made.
I mean, he was taking over for a coach who built a program to be the best in the sport for over a decade, won six national titles, hadn't won fewer than 10 games in a single season since his first year in 2007, recruited at the highest level, and left the cupboard full. It had to be the dream job of a lifetime for any coach, especially DeBoer who had risen in the ranks at lightning speed.
Well, what people don't realize is that Saban was Alabama. He was the winning culture and players came there to play for Nick Saban. Sure, the Alabama luster is still there and hasn't worn off, but taking the reins from a head coach who went 201-29 with six national titles in 17 years is not an easy task. Heck, it might even be the toughest task in college football.
Wait a second, taking the Alabama job after Saban built it up is a tough task? Think about the expectations DeBoer is facing. Two years ago, he took over a Washington program in the gutter and won 10-plus games in his first year and then made a national title game in year two and everyone in Seattle was ready to build his statue. He crushed expectations.
Now, he's in Tuscaloosa where making the playoff and winning national titles are expected. If he struggles even slightly, there will be doubt. Heck, even Saban faced doubt throughout his career.
DeBoer now must find a way to adequately replace the greatest college football coach of all time while not losing himself in the process. That's going to be tough.
If he can do it, though, he will have this thing humming like Saban in no time.