There was quite a stir in the Michigan football community when surprising news about a coaching move surfaced. Nick Saban, the coach at Alabama, brought back George Helow, who had previously served as the linebackers coach for Jim Harbaugh at Michigan in 2021 and 2022.

Helow had been away from college football in 2023, and just before the Wolverines and Crimson Tide faced off in the Rose Bowl for the college football playoffs, Saban rehired Helow as an assistant.

While some may consider this move underhanded, given the series of events in Michigan football this year, there wasn’t much reaction in Ann Arbor. It might even signal that Alabama is feeling a bit anxious.

Junior Colson, a linebacker who had previously worked with Helow, suggested as much. He mentioned, “Who sent it to me? I think it was Mike (Barrett) that sent it to me. I was like, ‘Huh — they might be a little scared.’ You never know. … He’s got a job — I’m happy for him. When we go play them, I’ll probably go and say what’s up to him after the game.”

Regarding Helow’s history, Saban sought to downplay any speculation about the hiring. He highlighted Helow’s previous stint as an intern with the Alabama program and portrayed the postseason hiring as routine — merely providing some extra support during the recruiting phase.

“George has been here before,” Saban explained. “He was with us for a long time. Knows our system. I think every year that we’ve been in the playoffs we’ve tried to bring somebody in, primarily because we spent two weeks really on the road recruiting.”

Saban also dismissed concerns about Alabama being troubled by alleged sign-stealing scandals involving Michigan football. He emphasized that their focus is on executing their strategies and preparing for the playoffs, not on external distractions.

“We always change things up a little bit,” Saban asserted. “We’re focused on what we have to do to try to get good execution and we’re not really concerned about any of that stuff.”

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