Earlier in the day, Alabama announced that defensive coordinator Pete Golding would join Ole Miss. With the sudden opening being created, Alabama will have to move fast to secure their new staff member. Jim Leonhard, the former Badgers’ safety and defensive coordinator, is reportedly a leading candidate for the position.
Could Leonhard become the next defensive coordinator?
Alabama is currently left with a significant hole in their staff. Golding had been the defensive coordinator since 2018, when he was promoted from co-DC. Golding and his defense allowed 18 points per game in 2022 and opposing offenses averaged 4.6 yards per play. The Crimson Tide have always had a stifling defense, but now someone else must command them.
Pat Smith of WJOX 94.5 and co-host of 3 Man Front alluded to reports of three specific candidates for the opening.
Names possibly for Bama DC include Glenn Schumann, Jim Leonhard and Jeremy Pruitt. Heard all three names of interest.
— Pat Smith (@patsmithradio) January 13, 2023
Glenn Schumann is the co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Georgia. Georgia has had the best defense in college football for the last two years and created talent at every position. Schumann is formerly an assistant at Alabama, where he served as a player development assistant. Schumann was responsible for meeting all of the players needs off the field and setting up recruiting visits. His past experience with Nick Saban could help his chances at landing the job.
Jeremy Pruitt is the former head coach of the University of Tennessee. He spent 2021 as a senior defensive assistant and was not retained following the hiring of Brian Daboll. Pruitt has served on Alabama’s staff three times in the past, with the most recent stint as Alabama’s defensive coordinator in 2017. Pruitt might be tough to hire, however, since an internal investigation noticed serious recruiting violations, leading to Pruitt being fired by Tennessee.
Jim Leonhard doesn’t have the same connections to Alabama, but he certainly has the track record to back himself up. Leonhard’s defense led the nation in total defense, allowing 284.8 yards per game across 2017-2021. Leonhard was a pivotal part of one of the most consistent defensive programs in the country over the last seven years. While he is somewhat a dark horse for the position, Alabama would level up their defense with the addition of Leonhard.