TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – As Kalen DeBoer made his first entrance with the Crimson Tide into Bryant-Denny stadium, the familiar guitar riff of Thunderstruck reverberated off the stadium walls. Many had wondered entering the season if the song would be replaced, as so many things had under the new regime.

After all, DeBoer didn’t take the walk of champions with his team – instead watching on from the stadium. He didn’t show up in a colorful sports coat – as his predecessor had for many years – instead opting for a pullover. The game itself even changed formats from a traditional scrimmage to an offensive-defensive affair – with a scoring system that even those paid to understand couldn’t make sense of.

But when a reporter asked if he was going to change this longtime tradition, DeBoer echoed the feeling that many Alabama fans hold around all the team’s traditions. “Why change something that works?”

On Saturday, as the former Husky-turned Alabama head coach reached the entrance way, the music went silent before being replaced with Imagine Dragons’ “Thunder.” A few seconds later, the ACDC hit resumed. Was it a fake-out? A last-second surprise from the new face?

Regardless of whether it was intentional or not, it was poetic – a moment of awkwardness that allowed everyone inside Bryant-Denny to appreciate how strange the scene truly was.

While the biggest difference for many was the coach exiting the tunnel, DeBoer faced the opposite unknown: coaching football on a Saturday in the South for the first time. A wave of people packed into the stadium to get a first impression of the man that took over for the GOAT – a crowd that dwarfed Washington’s spring game attendance from last season.

“What was it, 72,000? We were just shy of it there [in Sioux Falls, where DeBoer won 3 NAIA National Championships] … I caught [the atmosphere] a little bit early on, enjoy that moment. And as much as anything, make sure the guys did too,” DeBoer said.

While the Tide’s new leader evaluated his team’s first public performance, Saban was escorted through the press box at Bryant-Denny to a private box where he watched the game. At a time when he would normally be scolding players and creating more memorable moments on the field, the legendary coach was instead worrying about watching the game with his wife for the first time.

“My biggest concern is being with my head coach Mrs. Terry, I’ve never had to watch a game with her, I’m a little concerned,” said Saban in an interview during the game with ESPN.

The shift in coaches was even apparent in the game’s score, as the offense jumped out to an early 31-0 lead – a sign of differing ideologies between the two. Alabama’s defense battled back, but fell 34-28 when the game wrapped.

Just like the lyrics of the Imagine Dragons song go, Kalen DeBoer’s first steps into Bryant-Denny marked him truly leaving his old life behind. Purple and gold traded for crimson and white, Cinderella for dynasty. He isn’t someone whose journey – or style – fits the mold that Saban left behind.

Intentional or not, the momentary shift in songs was an omen of shifting tides at Alabama. Good or bad? We’ll just have to see.