TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama coach Nick Saban is the type to have multiple plans in place in case something falls through.
That’s why it’s not hard to believe that the Crimson Tide’s coach would have moved quickly in filling the sudden vacant spot on his staff.
Alabama hasn’t confirmed the hiring of longtime NFL assistant Karl Dunbar as its defensive line coach as of this posting, but it’s still worth taking a closer look at the man who is reportedly heading to Tuscaloosa to replace Bo Davis, who resigned this weekend.
After detailing how the Davis saga affects Alabama going forward on Sunday, now it’s time to turn the page and take a look at Dunbar’s resume. Here are three things you need to know:
He’s worked with Nick Saban before.
Saban likes to hire and re-hire guys who have already been around or worked for him in some capacity. Whether it’s pulling a staffer from an off-field position or bringing back Jeremy Pruitt as defensive coordinator (Pruitt worked as defensive backs coach at Alabama from 2010-12), Saban likes having some sort of familiarity because it makes the transition much easier.
Dunbar worked as the strength and conditioning coach (2000-01) at LSU under Saban, whose first year at LSU was in 2000. It was Dunbar’s second job as a coach after he got his start at Nicholls State (1998-99) once his playing days were over.
Since then, Dunbar has blossomed into a good assistant coach, with his specialty being the defensive line. It wouldn’t be surprising at all if Saban kept tabs on him over the years in hopes of potentially hiring him one day.
He has ties to Louisiana.
Along with working at LSU, Dunbar has deep ties to Louisiana.
Dunbar was born in Opelousas, La., played high school in the state and attended LSU where was he was a star defensive lineman. As a senior at LSU, Dunbar was named a second-team All-SEC performer before he was drafted in the eighth round of the 1990 NFL Draft.
This is big from a recruiting standpoint as he’ll be able to walk into the living rooms of prospects in the Louisiana area, and relate to their upbringings.
Dunbar also played a year with the New Orleans Saints. After working with Saban at LSU in 2000-01, Dunbar went back to work as the defensive line coach during Les Miles’ first season at the helm (2005).
Having those southern connections is everything in recruiting.
He was a good coach in the NFL.
Prior to his stop in Buffalo last season, Dunbar had built a pretty impressive resume as a defensive line coach in the NFL.
While with the Chicago Bears (2004), Dunbar helped the team reach new heights on third down. The defense led the NFL by holding opponents to 30.5 percent on third-down conversions while ranking 15th in pass defense.
After his brief stop at LSU, Dunbar returned to the NFL to work with the Minnesota Vikings (2006-11). The Vikings led the NFL in run defense for three seasons (2006-08), allowing 70.8 rushing yards per game.
From there, Dunbar joined forces with Rex Ryan and the New York Jets (2012-14). The Jets featured one of the league’s better defenses, but the offense often limited the team’s success.
Ryan took Dunbar with him when he got the job with the Buffalo Bills in 2015. Dunbar was relieved of his duties in March.