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Karle's Korner: Were we looking at 2 Alabama head coaches at the podium on Sunday?

Clemson's Dabo Swinney, left, and Alabama's Nick Saban, right, have admired each other's ability to craft their teams in perennial title contenders. (Brian Tynes/Raycom Media) Clemson's Dabo Swinney, left, and Alabama's Nick Saban, right, have admired each other's ability to craft their teams in perennial title contenders. (Brian Tynes/Raycom Media)
Tampa, FL (WBRC) -

The following is a commentary from WBRC FOX6 Sports Director Rick Karle:

There they sat only a few feet from one another, and the thought just wouldn't leave me: When Nick Saban decides to hang it up, will Dabo Swinney of Clemson be the next Alabama football coach?

Dabo's name has been floating around for years as Saban's eventual replacement, but opinions have varied from the Bama fan base. While many Crimson Tide fans would love to have the former UA receiver as their head man, others feel as if Dabo is a bit too "rah rah"- after all, the buttoned-up, corporate Nick Saban has been so successful, why change the coaching dynamic?

At Sunday morning's joint coaches news conference, Swinney took the lion's share of the questions, and while Saban was cautious and measured in his responses, Swinney was, as usual, unfiltered. Dabo smiled, Dabo joked and Dabo engaged. Nick was a corporate CEO who meant business.

Of course, ANY Bama fan would admit that Saban's Wall Street style has been great for the program- heck, Nick is looking for his fifth national championship in ten years at Alabama. Many Bama fans are now admitting that Saban is (take a breath here), the greatest Alabama football coach of all time.

At some point, however, Nick Saban is going to head to the lake. His retirement could come in ten years, five years, three years, or God forbid, late Monday night. But after the fan meltdown will come the realization that the program needs the best coach available to continue the nation's top winning tradition. Could that coach be the former Alabama walk-on from Pelham?

When fans think of Alabama football they think of tradition: Simple uniforms, houndstooth hats and corporate head coaches like Paul Bryant, Gene Stallings and Nick Saban. But it may be time for Crimson Tide fans to look toward William Christopher Swinney.

As little as five years ago, many college football fans thought of Dabo to be a bit of well, a goober. Dancing with his players, cheering with the crowd, offering up unscripted post-game sermons. But as Swinney continues to age, to win and to build the Clemson Empire into a national force, the respect owed to him has grown.

Young athletes not only want to PLAY for Dabo, they want to BE with Dabo, they want to be INSPIRED by Dabo.  Swinney's rags-to-riches true life story is one which would make Forrest Gump proud and one with which young recruits can relate.

Sunday morning, none other than Nick Saban made sure that he made public his thoughts about the respect he has for Swinney in how he has handled being Clemson's coach and a part of the Alabama family.

Said Saban, "I want to say that Dabo has done an outstanding job of managing the situation he is in at a competitive program. He has also been very supportive of his teammates that he played with at the University of Alabama. Dabo comes back and we try to do everything we can do to support Gene Stallings and the RISE Program. I really admire the way he has been loyal to his alma mater but never stays in conflict."

Dabo Swinney has been the head coach at Clemson for eight years, but another few years of waiting for what is his dream job (he will tell you that he's at his dream job, but c'mon) may not be a bad thing.

Will Dabo leave his Clemson empire?  Coach Bryant left Texas A&M for Alabama when mama called. I have a feeling that if Dabo's mother Carol called, he'd be phoning Mayflower.

He'd then call all of his childhood buddies to make sure they helped pack up.

That's my take. What's yours?

Copyright 2017 WBRC. All rights reserved.

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