The Alabama football offensive coordinator position is officially open, with Bill O’Brien taking the New England Patriots offensive coordinator job on January 24 — one he said he hadn’t spoken to the franchise about as recently as December. It will be the sixth offensive coordinator hire in the last eight seasons of Nick Saban’s tenure in Tuscaloosa. While the NFL poached an Alabama coach, it appears the university could take someone right back from the pro ranks. Several of AL.com’s projected Crimson Tide coaching candidates are recently dismissed NFL head coaches, including Kliff Kingsbury, Adam Gase, and Jason Garrett.
If one of those coaches were to become the head coach of a team from a Power Five conference, they’d be following in the footsteps of Matt Rhule, who was fired from the Carolina Panthers midseason and hired by Nebraska on November 26.
AL.com’s Mike Rodak points out that the last several offensive coordinators Saban hired had NFL experience. “Three of the four previous hires in that span came from the NFL in Brian Daboll (2017), Steve Sarkisian (2019) and O’Brien (2021), although Sarkisian and O’Brien both had extensive backgrounds in college,” he wrote.
Adam Gase and Jason Garrett Have Nick Saban Ties
As AL.com’s Mike Rodak points out, both Adam Gase and Jason Garrett have ties to Alabama football head coach Nick Saban. Gase was on Saban’s support staff at both Michigan State and LSU, while Garrett was the quarterbacks coach for the Saban-coached Miami Dolphins for two seasons.
Gase hasn’t coached since he was let go by the New York Jets, but as Rodak relays, he was an offensive coordinator candidate when Bill O’Brien was hired in 2021. “He reportedly was under consideration with O’Brien to be hired by Alabama two years ago,” he wrote.
Garrett took the 2022 season off from coaching but was most recently an offensive coordinator for the New York Giants. He was the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys from November 2010 to December 2019.
AL.com Calls Kliff Kingsbury ‘intriguing’ Alabama Football Option
AL.com’s Mike Rodak listed Kliff Kingsbury, who was fired by the Arizona Cardinals on January 9, last on his Alabama football offensive coordinator candidate list and even threw in some opinionated flavor regarding the 43-year-old joining Nick Saban’s staff.
“After being fired from the Cardinals earlier this month, Kingsbury told Fox Sports he bought a one-way plane ticket to Thailand and was declining NFL job opportunities,” Rodak wrote. “But if his thinking changed, Kingsbury would be an intriguing option for Alabama if it wanted to adopt the spread offense that made Kingsbury a successful college coach leading Johnny Manziel at Texas A&M and Patrick Mahomes at Texas Tech.”
Kingsbury’s offensive schemes certainly tailor to the skillset of sophomore dual-threat Jalen Milroe, who has stiff competition in the Crimson Tide quarterback room in 2023. Second-year signal-caller Ty Simpson is more of a pocket-passing presence while incoming freshman Eli Holstein is an elite athlete in the vein of a Milroe and fellow Class of 2023 quarterback Dylan Lonergan is primarily a passer but isn’t afraid to improvise when the pocket breaks down.