Auburn football writer: Kalen DeBoer leading Alabama 'back to the back,' Hugh Freeze can close talent gap soon

Florida v Alabama
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Auburn Daily's Brian Smith believes Kalen DeBoer may be leading Alabama "back to the back" in the SEC with all of his transfer portal losses -- Kadyn Proctor (though he may return), Julian Sayin, Caleb Downs, Isaiah Bond, and recently, Tony Mitchell, among them -- over his first few months on the job; and sees an opportunity for Hugh Freeze to close the talent gap between Alabama and Auburn football sooner than later.

"Looking at the On3 Transfer Portal rankings in the same order as above, those are the #1, #3, #7, and #28 players from the Transfer Portal," Smith prefaced before saying, "That's hard to overcome now or in the future. While Auburn certainly has its own issues to resolve on the roster, at least for now, Alabama appears to be dropping back to the back.

"The next few months will be vital to each of Alabama and Auburn as they attempt to reel in talent from the Transfer Portal. It's not inconceivable that Auburn closes the talent gap even more, especially after the major Transfer Portal wins Hugh Freeze and his staff recently came away with."

Alabama culture under Kalen DeBoer is becoming unserious as Auburn football eyes Yellowhammer State takeover

Nick Saban was a drill sergeant of a head coach who commanded respect with his serious and stone cold demeanor. DeBoer is a much more subdued leader, and while that's led to success at previous stops, most notably Washington, his passive disposition is leading to an "inmates run the asylum" scenario in Tuscaloosa.

Exhibit A: Roll Tide Willie. A legitimately troubled man with a sketchy past, Roll Tide Willie has become an unofficial mascot for Alabama since Saban's retirement. In fact, he's been recognized by accounts affiliated with the Crimson Tide athletics and various recruits. So perhaps he is more than just an "unofficial" mascot at this point.

DeBoer is still an accomplished coach and if he keeps the focus on the on-field product, Alabama may not suffer too bad of a downfall in the post-Saban era. But he'll need to entice recruits with far more than, well, whatever Roll Tide Willie is, and prove that the Tide are just as serious now as they've been since 2007.