Alabama offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland returned to Sun Life Stadium for the first time in more than two years for the BCS National Championship’s Media Day session Saturday afternoon.
And the first thing he did was go sit in his old locker.
“Brought back memories,” said Stoutland, who spent four years at the University of Miami — including a month served as interim head coach for the 2010 Sun Bowl against Notre Dame after Randy Shannon was fired.
“Being back here is awesome.”
Stoutland, along with Crimson Tide director of football operations Joe Pannunzio, left Miami for Tuscaloosa shortly after Al Golden took over as coach in December 2010.
Eight months later, Stoutland and Pannunzio’s names appeared in a Yahoo! Sports investigation for allegedly using former booster Nevin Shapiro’s $6 million Miami Beach mansion to try and recruit offensive lineman Matt Patchan (who ended up at Florida), an NCAA violation.
While UM continues to wait to receive a notice of allegations pertaining to that and other alleged rules violations involving players and assistant coaches, Stoutland is preparing to try to win back-to-back national titles with the Crimson Tide.
“It’s incredible how much football I’ve been able to learn,” Stoutland said of working with Alabama coach Nick Saban. “He always shares ideas and thoughts.
“As a coach, you always want to be able to develop and grow. At Alabama, you can do that every single day.”
Stoutland said he recently came across several of his former linemen at UM when he reviewed the film of the Hurricanes’ 41-3 loss to Notre Dame in October. Stoutland said he has maintained relationships with a few of his former Hurricanes.
“ Brandon Linder calls me sometimes. Not as much recently, but I guess up until a year after I left,” Stoutland said. “He’s really developed nicely.”
Stoutland said he recently ran into Golden and UM defensive coordinator Mark D’Onofrio in New York the night Alabama center Barrett Jones was presented with the Academic Heisman.
“I think they’re doing a great job,” Stoutland said. “Recruiting has always been Coach Golden’s deal. I was there for five weeks before I accepted the position at Alabama.
“In the meetings, you could see the way he was going about his business that they’re on their way.”
Two sent home
Alabama sent two freshman linebackers home late Friday night for breaking curfew, the first disciplinary action taken since the team arrived in South Florida.
The suspended players — Dillon Lee and Ryan Anderson — weren’t expected to play much of a role for the No. 2 Crimson Tide in the title game.
The team’s leadership committee, comprised of veteran players, recommended the decision to send the players home to Saban, who then executed it.
Anderson hadn’t played in a game for Alabama this season.
Lee played in eight games, primarily on kickoff coverage, and had eight tackles.
“When you’re in a situation such as this and you’re playing in a big game like this, you have to establish a focus,” left guard Chance Warmack said at Media Day at Sun Life Stadium. “In order to establish that, you have to make examples of some people.
“As hard as it is, you still have to do that.”
Saban on NFL
Saban, who claimed while he was the Dolphins coach that he wouldn’t leave for Alabama right up until he left for Alabama, said he doesn’t believe he has anything he needs to accomplish in the NFL.
“I don’t have any unfinished business in the NFL,” Saban said. “It’s not something I’m concerned about. It’s not even anything I want to do.”