Normally what Nick Saban wants Nick Saban gets. In this case, the head coach may have his work cut out for him.
Reports surfaced earlier this week that disgraced former Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze was a visitor to Alabama’s football building. With the Crimson Tide searching for another offensive coordinator, speculation focused on Freeze as a potential candidate for the opening; others thought an in-house promotion was more likely and that Freeze could assume another role with the program.
According to the latest from the Tuscaloosa News‘ Aaron Suttles, “Saban is really pushing for Freeze to be an on-the-field coach,” whether it be as coordinator or, perhaps, working with quarterbacks or another positional group. One problem, per the News, is that some within the program are pushing against such an addition, although, again, if Saban really wants Freeze as an on-field addition he’d get it regardless of who was pushing back. Another issue, though, could be his conference.
From Suttles’ report:
Another aspect to this is that should Alabama decided to hire Freeze as an on-the-field coach, it would likely need the blessing of SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey. Sankey isn’t keen on that happening, The Tuscaloosa News has learned.
The league office’s pause in one of its members giving Freeze his first post-scandal second chance is certainly understandable.
Freeze “resigned” from Ole Miss after it was discovered he was using a school-issued cell phone to hook up with escort services on multiple occasions. Additionally, there were the Rebels’ NCAA issues while Freeze was in charge that left the coach with a two-game suspension to serve; that suspension would not have to be served if Freeze is a coordinator or position coach. The one-year show-cause Freeze was slapped with, which would impact him on the recruiting trail as a head coach, would not be in effect if he served in a non-head coach capacity.
If the SEC would indeed have an issue with the Freeze hire — and if they actually have a say in the matter — it remains to be seen how far down the Freeze road Saban is willing to travel.