The University of Alabama introduced new head football coach Kalen DeBoer with a press conference at Bryant-Denny Stadium. DeBoer speaks during the press conference. Syndication: Tuscaloosa News

These are interesting times for the Alabama Crimson Tide.

Two weeks ago, Nick Saban announced his retirement. By the end of the week, former Washington Huskies head coach Kalen DeBoer was named as his successor.

Since then, several current Crimson Tide players have jumped into the transfer portal, much to the delight of the college football world.

As of now, close to 30 players have transferred out of Tuscaloosa. Two of them were starters: Wide receiver Isaiah Bond and starting cornerback Caleb Downs. Bond didn’t waste any time leaving. Downs waited a few days but the writing was already on the wall when Saban left and Downs’s position coach took off for the Georgia Bulldogs.

The transfer portal added a layer to the situation that Alabama fans aren’t familiar with. But should they panic? Depends on your perspective.

From the outside looking in, the Tide could be in trouble. Losing that many players should concern any program, especially if you’re about to enter a critical transitional period like Alabama is.

The reality of the situation is, that no program is safe. Alabama is currently in a vulnerable position because, if a coach leaves, players are going to look at all of their options and now can move quickly.

Both the Washington Huskies and Arizona Wildcats are facing the same issue too; players leaving in mass exodus as the coaching carousel moved their head coaches around like chess pieces.

Don’t be surprised if the Michigan Wolverines are next. Their head coach, Jim Harbaugh, has been interviewing for several NFL jobs and all signs point to him leaving any day now.

The transfer portal has brought a free-agency aspect to college football and we can expect this to be the new normal unless that situation changes. Some have suggested putting a cap on the number of times a player can transfer or putting a timetable in place for transfers after a coach leaves.

The good news for Alabama fans is that if any program can overcome the short-term losses, it’s Bama. Saban may be gone but the brand remains strong. The main issue DeBoer is facing in 2024 is a lack of depth and a young team, but it’s also still January. A lot can change between now and September. We are a whole nine months away from the start of the 2024 college football season, which gives the Tide plenty of time to recoup their losses.

Besides, the Tide is not lacking in talent. And much of the talent drain so far has been in the defensive secondary, including several players who weren’t expected to be starters. The strength of this team was going to be their offense. Except for three players, the offense remains intact. That’s good news since they’ll be counted on to overcome those defensive losses. The defense will be still talented but young, so there might be some growing pains throughout the season.

A lot of people have been waiting for the chance to dance on Alabama’s grave, and maybe they won’t be the juggernaut they’ve been for the last two decades, but don’t be surprised if the Tide is still dancing and celebrating when the season is over.

About Stacey Mickles

Stacey is a 1995 graduate of the University of Alabama who has previously worked for other publications such as Sportskeeda and Saturday Down South.