Chris Kirschner/SEC Country
Burton Burns is moving to an off-field position.

Question of the Day: Biggest surprise from Alabama’s finalized coaching staff

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — We’re pushing through the early part of the offseason after Alabama’s championship run, and we’re here to answer any questions you have.

The players are locked in on the spring semester while the coaching staff is looking ahead to the 2019 recruiting cycle.

Here’s our question of the day — go here for other Alabama football and recruiting questions and answers.

What is the biggest surprise from the finalized coaching staff for Alabama football?

In case you haven’t been paying attention, Alabama coach Nick Saban finalized the Crimson Tide’s coaching staff on Thursday.

Here’s a rundown:

  • Mike Locksley: Offensive coordinator
  • Tosh Lupoi: Defensive coordinator/outside linebackers coach
  • Jeff Banks: Special teams coordinator/tight ends
  • Dan Enos: Associate head coach/quarterbacks coach
  • Josh Gattis: Co-Offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach
  • Pete Golding: Co-Defensive coordinator/inside linebackers coach
  • Brent Key: Offensive line coach
  • Craig Kuligowski: Associate head coach/defensive line
  • Joe Pannunzio: Running backs
  • Karl Scott: Defensive backs

In terms of the biggest surprise, it’s Burton Burns by a mile. Burns has been a huge piece of Alabama’s success during Saban’s tenure in Tuscaloosa.

He’s coached running backs like Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson, Derrick Henry, T.J. Yeldon, Kenyan Drake, Damien Harris and many others.

Burns moves off the field after a decorated tenure that included 5 National Championships and 5 SEC titles. He coached Alabama’s first two Heisman Trophy winners with Ingram in 2009 and Henry following in 2015. He also helped Trent Richardson and Henry win the Doak Walker Award while guiding seven running backs to NFL careers. 

“Burton has been a crucial part of our success over the past 11 years and has done an outstanding job with our running backs,” Saban said in a statement. “He is an essential member of our staff as he takes on a new challenge as our assistant athletics director for football.”

It was a shock because of Burns’ success at Alabama. The only guess as to why a move like this would be made is because of recruiting. Burns doesn’t typically hit the recruiting trail as hard as some others while keeping Pannunzio on staff gives Alabama a connection to South Florida.

Burns is 66 so there’s also the possibility of him nearing retirement. It’s tough to say why it happened, but a coach like Burns won’t be easily replaced.