Ole Miss has a new defensive line coach. Again. Freddie Roach, the director of player development at Alabama has left the Crimson Tide to accept the vacant position in Oxford. Roach, who’s spent the last two seasons in Tuscaloosa as an off-field assistant, will fill the void left by Tray Scott’s departure for Georgia just over a month into his tenure.
Scott was hired after longtime Rebel D-line coach Chris Kiffin left to join his brother’s new staff at Florida Atlantic.
Roach, an alumnus of Alabama, was a linebacker for the Tide from 2002-2005, earning All-SEC and Freshman All-American honors. He was also named the SEC Defensive Player of the Year award in 2002 and was named to Alabama's All-Decade Team for the 2000s. He signed as a free agent with the New England Patriots in 2006.
He began his coaching career as assistant strength and conditioning coach for Alabama from 2008-2010, helping the team win the 2010 national title over No. 2 Texas. Roach moved on to become an assistant at East Mississippi Community College in 2011 and served as their defensive line coach and then moved on to be a strength and conditioning assistant at Murray State in 2012. Then, he left Murray and made his way to South Alabama where he helped the Jaguars earn their first-ever bowl bid with a trip to the Camellia Bowl in 2014.
While working on Nick Saban’s staff, Roach was a key cog in the development of the Tide’s defensive line. Unanimous All-American Jonathan Allen had a monster year (10.5 sacks and 16 tackles for loss) and was named the 2016 SEC Defensive Player of the Year, Chuck Bednarik Award winner, Bronko Nagurski Award winner and All-SEC. He was also instrumental in the growth of hybrid defensive end Tim Williams who collected nine sacks and 16 tackles for loss in 2016 and was a nightmare for offenses to try and contain.
At Ole Miss, Roach will be asked to revive a position group that, outside of Marquis Haynes, really withered down the stretch in 2016. The Rebels allowed 246.3 yards per game on the ground and 31 touchdowns. Other than Haynes (7.0 sacks in 2016), the position group only returns 3.5 combined sacks.