For 22 minutes on ESPN [and Tide 100.9] Wednesday,  Alabama head  coach Kalen DeBoer  spoke to Pat McAfee. Here is a full transcript of everything DeBoer said.

On Roster Management

“In a short amount of time, I think our staff has done an amazing job of just really getting to know these guys. I think there’s 28 or so guys that I think when you look at it from a whole piece have entered the portal, but really about 18 to 20 of those guys were gone before we even had a chance to be here. There were a few other guys that I think were just kind of holding on and had other places to go. So maybe there’s six to eight guys, maybe tops that have entered. So I think our staff has done a phenomenal job. As I said, most of those guys were gone before we even had a chance, and so it’s just the time and way of college athletics, and especially college football. We certainly understand that, but we’ve had a chance to get around our guys and I think they’re really starting to feel the vibe and feel what we’re going to become. I’m excited about this journey with them.”

On Current Scholarship Numbers

“The number I’m working with [85] is what we’re going to be this fall. And we still have a few to work with, but it’s not that far off. … What’s really cool is these guys, they’re the heart and soul. They’re the ones that are gonna bring this whole thing to life, and the guys who are with us right now, they have just like sunk their teeth in to another level. They’re hard with their heart at it with the workouts. It’s going extremely well. Checking in with Coach (David) Ballou, our strength coach, he’s just got them rolling."

[Most counts show Bama with 79 currently on football scholarship.]

 

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And for them, there was a little bit of time where there was some uncertainty and I think we’ve really kind of calmed things down and feeling good about the direction and what’s going to happen here this spring. But the core of our team is right here and they have a chip on their shoulder. They want to win that national championship. They had it right there in their grasp, and these guys have already turned the page and moving on and excited about what our new staff is going to do building on what Coach Saban has done for many years here at Alabama.”

On Running His Offense With SEC Talent/Speed

“That’s certainly a big piece of these guys here in the program, understanding what we’ve been. We were on national TV a lot, enough for them to see what we were doing and be excited about their roles. You talked about Jalen (Milroe), you talked about the receiving corps, and these guys are fired up about getting those opportunities within this offense. Dillon Johnson was the leading rusher in the Pac-12, and so all the skill guys, they’re fired up and ready to learn the system and continue to grow. And then just defensively, bringing in Kane Wommack, an experienced head coach from South Alabama, who I’ve worked with before at Indiana. I’m excited about what we’re gonna do defensively and building on the great tradition of defense and what physical football and good, solid defense is all about.”

On Being Able to Get Advice From Nick Saban

“I’d be pretty foolish if I didn’t lean on him and have a door that was open for him to come and and see it and for me to reach out for advice. Have done that quite frequently, especially the first week, and he will be someone I know I appreciate him having his line open for me at any time. He built this program to the point and he invested so much in it, I know that he wants nothing more other than for this program to continue to build on what he’s done, all the work he’s put in. He just doesn’t want it to go float off into space. He wants it to be great.”

On How Things Are Different in the South

“I think even just arriving, you land and you’re gonna meet the team and just the reception of fans being there. I mean, that was really neat for me and my family. And being around the game long enough, I understand there’s still a difference in some things that will come with it being here in the SEC. But intensity is what we look for. You come to Alabama to be with the very, very best, to compete at the highest level, and that’s what I want to do everywhere I’ve been. So I’m not going to be shy away from how important winning is. I think that was probably something that was attractive from Greg Byrne and Alabama towards me. I’m not going to shy away from that, but we’re going to continue to do things with the Alabama standard always in mind and continue the winning tradition.”

On Sensing Closeness in a Team

“I think you first look at right now, even with the guys that are returning, and just you can feel that closeness that they have, and that’s a tribute to the coaching staff, Coach Saban and everything that they built. It’s not just a bunch of really good football players out there that won the SEC championship. It’s guys that really believe and came here for a reason, to continue the legacy of Alabama football and build on their own. And I truly believe that because there was so much noise – and there still will be noise – outside the program of people who are trying to come in and just put a little doubt in their mind. The nucleus of this team and the program is really these guys have stayed the course and really hunkered down and are ready to go back to work and continue to prove some people right, but also prove some people wrong. And it depends on what side of the line you’re on. So I think you can feel it pretty quickly. And that’s going to be the great challenge, and that’s what I love to do is continue to bring these guys together, bring our staff together all for a common goal. And so I’m excited about this opportunity, which I know is an ongoing challenge each and every day.”

On the Timeframe Between Saban's Retirement and His Hire 

“I think first of all, I think everyone was surprised. Coach Saban has just done it for so long and has it rolling, and as I would say, the cupboard is not bear with who’s here in this program from a player standpoint. He just was relentless every single day. And when you see someone give everything like they have, you think they’re just gonna continue on. But I think probably just like you, we’re all a little surprised. But when I got the opportunity – and like you said, it happens really quickly.

"When you invest so much into a program like I did at Washington, and that’s the only way you can do it is just jump all in at a place, whether it’s building relationships with the players, the people around the program, the alumni, that’s how it has to be done for it to really be successful. It was a hard decision. I felt like there was unfinished business at Washington, coming up short of winning the national championship, which was our goal. But I also saw this as just an amazing opportunity that I just could not pass up on, to be the head coach at Alabama and not shying away. I understand the way that it gets perceived with following a legend, but then there’s been another legend also in this program and Coach Saban had to follow in his shoes. And so this program was built with great foundation, and I can’t wait to continue to build on the great ones that have been here before.”

On Handling Outside Noise

“I think you just got to be convicted in who you are as a person. You got to believe that your experiences and how we do things is going to work and can work anywhere. And I believe that. We’ll build a great staff that I know will have great perspective and be able to handle those things that people throw our way and trying to bring doubt that it can’t be sustained. But you just got to be convicted in who you are. I’ve had success at a lot of places, and I feel it can carry over. A lot of times, it’s just about simply building around people and the relationships and the X's and O's and things like that.

"Football is football. I’m getting to know this part of the country very quickly. Not completely and not familiar with it, but got some people around me that certainly are and so we’re hitting the ground running. I’m excited about it, building all these relationships and making this next season, not waiting around, not rebuilding but reloading.”

On Assembling a Staff Quickly

“It’s so critical because it trickles down to the vibe and the culture that you want in your program, it starts with your staff, and the players will bring it to life. But they have to have the buy-in in the people and that we care about them first and foremost, not just the football aspect of it. So I’d love to take more time, but in the days right now that we’re in, mid to late January already, you don’t have a lot of time. So fortunately, I got some people that I’m connected with and feel really good about, and I think we’ve really done a really good job building the coaching staff, the off-field staff. Many of the people here have done an awesome job, and so you can’t help but look at them and give them a chance and looking forward to that partnership with them.”

On Selling Himself to Current Bama Players While Bringing in Former UW Players

“First and foremost, you want to make sure that the guys are committed that you understand and evaluating them. I think the biggest recruiting and the best recruiting we’ve done is still our current roster. There’s not really portal guys because the portal window is closed other than those that have coaching changes, so we’ve had to recruit our own roster, and I think we’ve done a great job of that. … The nucleus and the core is going to be the guys that are here. And I experienced that just two years ago. We kept the nucleus and core, for the most part, together. That’s the heart and soul of your team. And then additions that you get a chance to bring in, I want nothing but the places that I’ve invested a lot of time in to be successful in the future, and that’s Washington, that’s Fresno State. Those places are special places to me.

"You want to be a part of the legacy looking back that you continued to build on, and the people after you, they made it even better than when you were there. So as far as a few guys, there were some guys that entered portal, and if they’re going to go anywhere other than being at Washington, I certainly am going to want to have a chance to have them here because I’ve trust and believe in them, not just as players but as people. So we’ve had a few of those situations here in the last week.”

On If His Washington Offense Will Succeed at Alabama

“I certainly think we can. I think the heart and soul of it still is that you have to be physical and your offensive line has to be great. Our running back, Dillon Johnson, was right at the top of the conference rushing the football, and so when it came down to it, that’s who we were and we believed in it. And with the personnel we have here, there’s some amazing running backs in this program. I’ve seen firsthand who these guys are. And the offensive line is always a huge piece of the success and where it all starts. So I think what we’ve done, you always tweak it here and there to fit your personnel. Ryan Grubb and our offensive staff, they will do exactly that.”

On Developing a Southern accent like Brian Kelly's Massive Fail

“I think that would go wrong for me. I just know who I am, and there’s there’s some South Dakota in there and that’s that’s who I am. So we just got to live with that. You got me for who I am.”

Alabama Football Practice- August 15, 2023

Gallery Credit: Crimson Tide Photos / UA Athletics

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