Mel Tucker spent the last few seasons coordinating NFL defenses in Chicago (2013-2014), Jacksonville (2009-2012), and Cleveland (2005-2007). Now he's overseeing Nick Saban's secondary in Alabama.
Although Marc Trestman and his staff in Chicago (which included Tucker) were let go following last season's 5-11 finish, Tucker's move from NFL defensive coordinator back to the college ranks as a position coach made some scratch their heads. But as Tucker explained to AL.com, his decision to take the job on the Tide's staff came down to a few key details - beyond his friendship with Saban.
"As an assistant coach, you're looking at two things — who you're working for, and can you win? As we left Chicago, that's what we took into account."
"I know, and my wife, Jo-Ellyn, knows, exactly what you're going to get from coach Saban day in and day out. He's a guy we have a tremendous amount of respect for. We trust him. He knows us. He knows me. And obviously at Alabama, you've got a chance to win. So it was just a great fit for me."
The last time Tucker was in the college ranks was 2004, when he was the co-defensive coordinator at Ohio State, and from 2001-2003 he coached the Buckeye defensive backs. Prior to that he had a year at LSU with the secondary, a year at Miami of Ohio with the defensive backs and two years at Michigan State as a graduate assistant, where he worked under Saban in East Lansing.
Even though Tucker and Saban have a history together, the two items on Tucker's checklist are something all assistants can take notes on.