Unless there’s an unforeseen emergency that requires more attention, this isn’t typically the time of year in which assistant coaches resign.
Offers are going out, spring practice is either already in the books or wrapping up and plans are being made for the upcoming season.
That said, the coaching vacancy that now exists at Alabama should be concerning.
Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban announced the resignation of defensive line coach Bo Davis on Friday, less than two weeks after the defending national champions wrapped up spring practice.
“Bo Davis has submitted his letter of resignation,” Saban said in a statement emailed by Alabama. “We appreciate all the contributions he made to the program and wish him and his family the very best in the future.”
Andrew Bone and Aaron Suttles of the Tuscaloosa News reported on Thursday that the resignation stems from an inquiry into recruiting violations, and that both the University and the NCAA are looking into the matter.
Assistant coaches don’t resign right now—even amid recruiting violations—unless there really is no other choice.
This is similar to situations that cost Aubrey Hill and Joker Phillips their jobs at Florida.
Hill resigned as the wide receivers coach of the Gators on Aug. 3, 2012, after his name surfaced in the Nevin Shapiro scandal that hounded Miami earlier this decade. Phillips resigned his post as wide receivers coach at Florida on June 17, 2014, after reports surfaced that he met with a prospect at a restaurant during a recruiting dead period.
Hill and Phillips simply couldn’t be kept around because they had become liabilities, a surefire sign that there is no other option.
In years past, assistants who have come under scrutiny have simply been pulled off the recruiting trail. During the final days of the Gene Chizik era at Auburn, Pat Forde of Yahoo Sports reported that wide receivers coach Trooper Taylor and running backs coach Curtis Luper were both taken off the recruiting trail amid an NCAA probe.
If this was a small matter—like the $8 gate fee former Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo forgot to pay that cost him a month on the recruiting trail in 2012—Davis would still be around. The abrupt resignation suggests that it isn’t.
Davis’ resignation at such an odd time suggests that he’s involved in something serious enough that the school simply couldn’t risk defending him.
So what does it mean for Alabama?
Probably not much in the grand scheme of things.
According to his 247Sports profile, Davis was responsible for some high-profile prospects who signed with Alabama in the class of 2016, including stud linebacker Ben Davis and defensive back Nigel Knott. He also played a part in the recruitment of several current members of the Crimson Tide, including defensive tackle Daron Payne, dual-threat quarterback Jalen Hurts and cornerback Kendall Sheffield.
But this is Alabama. As long as Saban is there, the resources in Tuscaloosa exist, the pipeline to the NFL doesn’t dry up and the shiny trophies keep adding up, recruiting won’t be an issue for the staff whether Davis is a part of it or not.
The fact that he isn’t now, though, should concern Crimson Tide fans.
No program is 100 percent clean. When the NCAA begins turning over rocks, you never know what it will find underneath.
Quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Statistics courtesy of CFBstats.com unless otherwise noted. Recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports.
Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer and national college football video analyst for Bleacher Report, as well as a host on Bleacher Report Radio on SiriusXM 83. Follow Barrett on Twitter @BarrettSallee.
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