TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Alabama offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland has accepted the same position with the Philadelphia Eagles under new head coach Chip Kelly, the school announced on Friday.
“Coach Stoutland did an excellent job with our offensive line along with each and every responsibility he had while he was here at the University of Alabama," coach Nick Saban said in a school news release. "We appreciate all that he did in terms of his time and his dedication in contributing to the success we’ve had over the last two years. He’s an outstanding coach and he will do a great job with the Eagles. We wish him and his family the best.”
Former All-Pro offensive lineman and Alabama great Chris Samuels joined the UA staff as an offensive line assistant in 2012 and could be a potential replacement for Stoutland. Another possibility is Georgia offensive line coach Will Friend, who was an All-SEC lineman at Alabama in the mid-1990s.
The replacement for Stoutland will be faced with a big challenge at Alabama, rebuilding an offensive line that powered the Tide to its second national championship in a row. Three starting positions are up for grabs with few experienced players waiting in the wings.
Stoutland, a nearly 30-year veteran of coaching, helped form the Crimson Tide offensive line many considered to be the best in college football, if not in the history of the game, in 2012. Former Alabama linemen Chance Warmack, D.J. Fluker and Barrett Jones all are expected to be taken in the NFL draft. Warmack is currently the No. 2 offensive lineman, according to ESPN's Todd McShay and Mel Kiper Jr.
Stoutland was an assistant under head coach Nick Saban for the past two seasons in Alabama, taking over for Joe Pendry when Pendry retired after the 2010 season. Stoutland earned a base salary of $395,000 in 2012.
Before joining Saban's staff, Stoutland held the same position and was the interim head coach at Miami. Stoutland was part of the staff that would come under NCAA investigation, though no punishment was placed on Stoutland or Alabama. However, when many Alabama staffers received raises following the 2011 national championship, Stoutland noticeably remained at the same salary.
Stoutland was heavily involved in Alabama's No. 1-ranked 2013 recruiting class, which became official Wednesday. UA signed three offensive linemen in the class:
No. 1-ranked offensive guard Grant Hill;
Junior college tackle Leon Brown;
Prep school product Brandon Hill.
The Crimson Tide also offered a grayshirt to four-star guard Bradley Bozeman, who tore his ACL during his senior season at Handley High in Roanoke, Ala.
Redshirt freshman Ryan Kelly is the frontrunner to start at center next season, and Arie Kouandjio, brother to left tackle Cyrus Kouandjio, took the majority of snaps with the second team offensive line at right guard. He missed much of the preseason in 2012 rehabbing from a knee injury. Brown, Hill and sophomore Austin Shepherd are the top three candidates to compete for the vacant starting right tackle position.
Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron said Wednesday that he has confidence in the offensive line coming in next season.
"I have all the faith in the world in those guys," McCarron told ESPN's Tom Rinaldi. "The backups we had last year could have stepped in and done a wonderful job if they had to. I don't doubt them one bit. We lost some big-time players, but we're going to have some younger guys step up and be able to make some plays and show their talents."