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DeBoer: Alabama tradition 'will continue' despite Saban's retirement

Brandon Sumrall / Getty Images Sport / Getty

There's a lot of pressure on Kalen DeBoer as he replaces Nick Saban this season, but the new Alabama head coach feels that the Crimson Tide will remain one of the nation's premier football programs.

"I don't think it's about proving anyone or any group of people wrong or right," DeBoer recently told On3's Andy Staples when asked about the responsibility to coach Alabama this year. "You know that's the lifeblood of what needs to happen for you to be successful. The recruiting needs to be on point. ... I feel like we've really nailed it on the head with who we brought in whether it's the recruiting staff, the coaching staff, (and) other support staff. They've just been awesome, they've done a great job."

He added: "We're getting people to campus, and we want them to feel what this place is all about and continue to see that the tradition will continue."

Saban retired in January after 17 years coaching the Crimson Tide, who won nine SEC titles and six national championships under his watch. DeBoer - a two-time Pac-12 Coach of the Year - knows he has big shoes to fill.

"If you think it that way, it can probably be overwhelming, overbearing," said DeBoer, who coached Washington the last two seasons. "I just think it's about one thing. It's about coming in and being the best you can be."

The Huskies went 25-3 with DeBoer on the sideline. They reached the College Football Playoff semifinal last season but fell short against Michigan in the national title matchup.

Saban isn't coaching Alabama anymore but still has an office at Bryant-Denny Stadium and is expected to serve as an adviser for the team. DeBoer plans to use the legendary coach's help during his time in Tuscaloosa.

"(Saban) built a place that it ends up being bigger than one person," DeBoer said. "That's just what Alabama football stands for, and I think our guys believe in this place. They certainly were recruited to different staff and a different head coach, but they truly believe in this place as well."

He added: "I know that we can certainly pick up the phone and give him a holler, and we want him to always feel a part of this because a lot of these guys came to this program because of him."

DeBoer and Co. had the second-best recruiting class in 2024 behind only Georgia, according to 247Sports.

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