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Friday, January 15, 2010
Willis leaving Alabama for Texas Tech

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Alabama coach Nick Saban was able to hold onto Kirby Smart, but James Willis got away.

Willis, who coached the linebackers on Alabama's national championship team, has taken a job on Texas Tech's staff to be Tommy Tuberville's defensive coordinator. Willis reunites with Tuberville after working under him at Auburn. But more importantly, Willis gets a shot at being a defensive coordinator.

Otherwise, he wouldn't have left Alabama, where he spent just one season.

Granted, Alabama's linebackers were talented last season, but Willis also did an excellent job in shuffling people around and getting top production even after Dont'a Hightower went down with a knee injury. Willis is also an outstanding recruiter.