Kalen DeBoer met with reporters for the first time since taking the Alabama head coaching job on Saturday afternoon.

DeBoer was asked about how he will go about building his first coaching staff in Tuscaloosa. DeBoer didn’t get into specifics, but indicated he plans to bring parts of his staff from Washington with him to Alabama. DeBoer also acknowledged that having assistant coaches with ties to the southeast region will be crucial for recruiting.

“There will be a touch of Washington in there, but I understand there needs to be some SEC ties,” DeBoer said. “Some southeast ties that can help bridge the gap.”

DeBoer’s lack of a connection to the SEC was a common criticism of his candidacy by fans and media during the coaching search. He’s never coached in the SEC or anywhere in the region. His previous stops at the FBS level include Washington, Fresno State, Indiana and Eastern Michigan. DeBoer is originally from South Dakota.

DeBoer’s staff will likely come into focus over the coming days, but a good bet to join him from Washington would be defensive coordinator Chuck Morrell. Morrell is also a South Dakota native and has been on DeBoer’s staff at all of his head coaching stops. Morrell was co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach at Washington. He served as safeties coach during DeBoer’s tenure as Fresno State’s head coach.

Another potential addition would be Washington offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb. Last offseason, Grubb was reportedly considered for Alabama’s vacant offensive coordinator position. The Tide ended up hiring Tommy Rees for the role.

It’s currently unclear which current Alabama assistant coaches, if any, will be retained by DeBoer for 2024.