Alabama Football: Two sessions into spring practice, new Tide assistant Jay Graham is leaving Nick Saban’s staff.
Suddenly the Alabama football staff is down one assistant coach. One of Nick Saban’s new hires for the 2021 season, tight ends and special teams assistant, Jay Graham is out. There has been nothing official from the University but multiple reports have stated Graham made the decision to exit, rather than Nick Saban.
UPDATED: Check out Graham’s statement below.
There are plenty of rumors. The most prevalent being his family was not willing to move to Tuscaloosa, despite the fact they were reportedly scheduled to do so this weekend. One unproven rumor is that Saban tried to change Graham’s mind but was not successful
Alabama football fans have two concerns and neither one is an overreaction. One is the timing, suddenly after two spring football practice sessions. At the least, it is not a good time to be hiring a new assistant coach. Fortunately, Nick Saban has a deep bench of analysts and one of them will likely fill in for the time being and possibly become Saban’s chosen replacement. The most probable of that group is Will Lawing, who before coming to Tuscaloosa, coached tight ends for Bill O’Brien and the Houston Texans.
Other names are quickly being thrown around by fans and media. One is Eddie Gran, who Saban was believed to have considered, to replace Charles Huff. Another is former Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin. Both guys have experience coaching tight ends. Gran has also worked with special teams.
The other concern is whether NCAA issues have surfaced for Graham. His last employer, the Tennessee Vols may have serious NCAA penalties in their future. An internal investigation in Knoxville discovered multiple NCAA violations leading to the termination of Jeremy Pruitt. Jay Graham was not implicated in the internal investigation. What the NCAA will eventually discover is not known.
Graham has a history of problems with the NCAA. While on Jimbo Fisher’s staff at Texas A&M, he was penalized by the NCAA.
(Graham) was served a six month show cause for recruiting violations related to impermissible contact with a prospective student- athlete.
In the same time period, the NCAA also penalized Aggies head coach, Jimbo Fisher. The Alabama Football program would have never hired Graham if there had been expectations of future NCAA problems. Currently, there is no evidence Graham’s departure from the Tide staff had anything to do with the NCAA.
Though not ideal, the change will likely be little more than a blip on the Crimson Tide radar. After all, Nick Saban has a plan for everything.