While it appears as if it’s just a matter of time until Butch Jones officially is announced as part of Alabama’s staff, many can do nothing but scratch their head in wonderment.
What could Jones possibly bring of value to the Crimson Tide? I’ve heard it suggested that he could be helpful as a recruiter. But it appears as if Jones will be an offensive analyst, which means he can’t recruit off campus. Maybe he has some relationships that could help Alabama, but his reputation as a selfish taskmaster likely will trump those connections.
Jones could help Nick Saban and his staff with some spread-option principles. But if I were an Alabama fan, I would hope that didn’t have too much of an effect on the Tide. Sure, Jones can teach the zone read when it comes to quarterbacks and running backs, but I doubt he’ll convince Saban to keep his offensive linemen in a two-point stance throughout the season. Saban prefers tough football over soft football. What a concept.
So I asked some former Saban assistants why their former boss would hire Jones.
“He loves to hire former coaches to feed his ego,” one coach said.
“Charitable deduction,” another offered up.
I followed up with, “Is there anything Butch does well?”
“Not from my recollection,” said a coach who has defended Jones’ offense.
Saban’s recent hirings have been interesting. He elevated Mike Locksley to offensive coordinator and Tosh Lupoi to defensive coordinator. Both are considered great recruiters, but neither is considered great at creating schemes or game plans. Those hires certainly are a reaction to Kirby Smart’s recruiting success at Georgia. Had Saban not given Locksley and Lupoi their promotions, they may have left for other jobs. So does that weaken Alabama when it comes to game preparation? Apparently not.
“Have you ever seen a Saban team not coached well?” one of Saban’s former assistants asked. “They can’t (be coached poorly) with Nick.”
So for those who just can’t understand the Jones hire, I’m with you. But for those who believe Saban’s recent hires could undermine Alabama because they’re more about recruiting than game planning, don’t count out Saban just yet.
(You can follow Dave Hooker on Twitter @TheDaveHooker)
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