Syndication: Montgomery

Alabama defensive coordinator Pete Golding is leaving the program to take the same position at Ole Miss, according to multiple reports. Golding will replace Chris Partridge, who was promoted to defensive play caller in 2022. 

Golding, 38, was considered one of the top up-and-coming assistants in college football when he was hired in 2018 as co-defensive coordinator from UTSA. He was promoted to primary defensive coordinator in 2019, but the defense has been inconsistent under his watch. In losses to Tennessee and LSU this past season, the Crimson Tide gave up a combined 84 points. 

Now, Golding will be tasked with rebuilding an Ole Miss defense that fell to No. 75 in total defense and No. 57 in scoring defense under Partridge. The Rebels surrendered more than 40 points in two of their last three games, including an embarrassing 42-25 decimation at the hands of Texas Tech in the Texas Bowl. 

Golding's new position sets off a critical offseason for Alabama coach Nick Saban, who is coming off one of the most disappointing two-year stretches since he took over the program. The Tide lost multiple games in consecutive seasons for the first time during the College Football Playoff era and posted their worst SRS rating since a 10-3 campaign in 2010. 

All eyes in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, now turn to the future of offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien, who completed his second year with the program after joining the Tide following a seven-year stint as an NFL head coach. NFL Network reports that O'Brien is a candidate for the New England Patriots offensive coordinator job, but Saban could also opt to move on from O'Brien regardless after two inconsistent campaigns. 

Ironically, Golding teams up with fellow former Saban assistant Lane Kiffin at Ole Miss. Kiffin worked as offensive coordinator from 2014-16 but ultimately left the team before the national championship game to take the head coaching job at FAU.