University of Alabama

Alabama announces changes to coaching staff

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Alabama coach Nick Saban announced Tuesday afternoon three major changes to the Crimson Tide's offensive staff.

Saban announced the hiring of Brent Key to coach the guards and centers while Mario Cristobal will coach the offensive tackles and tight ends, while also serving as the recruiting coordinator.

Key replaces Bobby Williams as an on-field coach as Williams moves into a "special assistant to the head coach" role.

"We are excited to announce the addition of Brent Key to our staff," Saban said in the school's news release. "He is an outstanding football coach who is well-respected across the country in terms of his knowledge of the game, his reputation as a teacher and his ability to recruit. We are pleased to welcome Brent and his wife Danielle to Tuscaloosa."

Key spent the past 11 seasons as an assistant coach at Central Florida, including the 2015 season as the Knights' offensive coordinator and running backs coach. He originally started as a graduate assistant at UCF in 2005. Key was Central Florida's offensive line coach for six seasons (2009-14), holding the title of assistant head coach from 2012-14.

Key is a native of Trussville, Ala. He attended Georgia Tech where he started 44 games with the Yellow Jackets.

"What a tremendous opportunity to work at The University of Alabama with Coach Saban," Key said in the university statement. "Coach Saban has built a tremendous program in Tuscaloosa, continuing a long tradition of success. I'm really excited to be part of this team and can't wait to get on the field and start teaching."

Cristobal coached tight ends for five years while working at Rutgers and Miami. He's been the Tide's offensive line coach for the past three seasons.

"We also believe it is a great opportunity for Mario to focus on his work with our tackles and be more involved in other aspects of our football program as he takes on the role with our tight ends," Saban said in the university statement. "Mario brings outstanding energy and dedication to our football team and has been an integral part of our success over the past three years."

Williams has served as the Tide's tight end coach and special teams coordinator for the past eight seasons. Saban did not announce who would coach the Tide's special teams unit.

"My relationship with Bobby goes back a long time," Saban said. "Bobby has been a key piece of our staff as we worked to build this program to compete at a national championship level. Even though he won't be on the field coaching, he will be vital to our success in this role as special assistant to the head coach."

Contact Anniston Star Sports Writer Marq Burnett at On Twitter:@Marq_Burnett.