The Alabama football program is entering a new era this offseason as Kalen DeBoer takes over for the legendary Nick Saban, who retired after the 2023 season, and there have been some early observations about who DeBoer is as a coach and person after his early days on the job.

One Alabama football employee said Kalen DeBoer “is a normal person,” according to Stewart Mandel of The Athletic.

There has been a sense of calmness in the building with DeBoer taking over as the head coach of Alabama, which is a contrast to Nick Saban's very tightly wound nature which caused outbursts at times, according to Mandel. Neither is necessarily the wrong approach, but DeBoer clearly operates in a different manner.

Alabama's head athletic trainer, Jeff Allen, who has been there since 2007, explained the difference between Saban and DeBoer.

“It just shows you that there's a lot of different ways to do things,” Jeff Allen said, via Mandel. “They're two different people, but they're both incredibly successful. … Players respond to authenticity. They know what's authentic and what's fake, and there was nothing fake about Nick Saban. And there's nothing fake about coach Deboer. I just see that so very, very clearly.”

DeBoer also made it clear that he is not trying to live up to the daunting standard that Saban had with the Alabama football program.

“I guess I look at it as I'm reaping the rewards of the tradition and pride that's been established here, and it's an honor I don't take lightly,” DeBoer said, via Mandel. “And it's a great challenge, but not in a way where I'm trying to live up to that. What I really want to do is build on it and make it even better.”

Offensive lineman Tyler Booker said there is still a standard for Alabama to live up to that is held over from Saban's tenure, as a lot of the players remain.

“There's still a lot of Saban guys on his team,” Tyler Booker said, via Mandel. “We still have a standard to uphold, and that starts with us bringing the juice in practice every day. The coaching style may be a little bit different, but we're still out there banging heads every day. That's the only way we're going to get better.”

DeBoer will try to continue a winning legacy.

Kalen DeBoer's coaching career before arriving at Alabama

DeBoer was the head coach in 2020 and 2021 at Fresno State, and went 9-3 in 2021 before landing the Washington football job. He was there for two seasons before landing the Alabama job, going 11-2 in 2022, and going 14-1 in 2023, going undefeated before losing to Michigan in the national championship game.

With Alabama, DeBoer will try to take the next step and win his first national championship as a head coach.