TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The coaching carousel at the University of Alabama has not finished spinning as Nick Saban will apparently make at least one more change to the staff.
BamaCentral has learned that Mississippi State defensive line coach Brian Baker has emerged as the top target for a similar spot with the Crimson Tide.
Craig Kuligowski, who once played for Saban at Toledo in 1990, is not expected to return as the Crimson Tide's associate head coach and defensive line coach.
Baker has been with the Bulldogs since 2016 and reportedly just signed a two-year contract extension through 2020. It's not known if he received a raise or title bump.
Mississippi State had two defensive linemen land various All-American honors this past season, Jeffery Simmons and Montez Sweat. It was just the second time since 2003 that an SEC West school produced multiple first-team All-SEC defensive linemen (Alabama, 2015).
However, the Bulldogs have to replace all four starters in 2019.
Saban has already hired away Mississippi State running backs coach Charles Huff, although the move has yet to be announced.
Baker is a 19-year coaching veteran of the NFL, mostly as a defensive line coach.
He was previously with the Washington Redskins (2014, outside linebackers), Cleveland Browns (2013, outside linebackers), Dallas Cowboys (2011-12), Carolina Panthers (2009-10), St. Louis Rams (2006–08), Minnesota Vikings (2001-05), Detroit Lions (1997–2000) and San Diego Chargers (1996).
Alabama was interested in bringing back former assistant coach Bo Davis for a third stint with the Crimson Tide, however after committing NCAA violations he’s still under a two-year show-cause penalty through April 13.
Saban’s staff has been almost completely overhauled since the National Championship Game, with offensive coordinator Mike Locksley (Maryland), defensive coordinator Tosh Lupoi (Cleveland Browns), quarterbacks coach Dan Enos (Miami), wide receivers coach Josh Gattis (Michigan) and offensive line coach Brent Key (Georgia Tech) having already departed.
In addition to former Crimson Tide assistants Steve Sarkisian and Sal Sunseri returning, the new staff will include former Florida State defensive coordinator Charles Kelly, ex-Rutgers head coach Kyle Flood, former Virginia Tech receivers coach Holmon Wiggins.
Former Tennessee coach Butch Jones is also staying on in some capacity.