The Alabama football program has found its top candidate for the vacant offensive coordinator position — Notre Dame offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Tommy Rees. Rees, who played quarterback himself for the Fighting Irish from 2010-2013, has coached at his alma mater since 2017. He was promoted to the offensive coordinator role in South Bend during the 2020 COVID-19 stricken season and has served in that role since.
According to a tweet from ESPN’s Chris Low, Rees will be in Tuscaloosa on Thursday, with the threat of a Crimson Tide poaching looming:
Notre Dame offensive coordinator Tommy Rees has emerged as the top target for @AlabamaFTBL’s OC job. Rees has had discussions with Nick Saban and is scheduled to be on campus Thursday, sources tell ESPN. Saban is looking to replace Bill O’Brien, who left for the Patriots’ OC job.
— Chris Low (@ClowESPN) February 2, 2023
After Alabama stole 5-star EDGE Keon Keeley back on December 14 from Notre Dame, Nick Saban and co. don’t appear to be done tearing down “America’s team” for their own benefit this offseason.
Tommy Rees is a Branch of The Brian Kelly Coaching Tree
Landing Rees could be a form of mental warfare from Saban with SEC West champion head coach Brian Kelly after the LSU head coach wasn’t able to bring Rees with him to Baton Rouge. That November 5 loss in Death Valley was the cause of the Crimson Tide missing the College Football Playoff, so there could be some revenge exacted by the ultimate chess player Saban with the Rees hire.
Sports Illustrated’s Mike McDaniel explained the coaching connection between Kelly and Rees and talked to the tempting offer the former offered the latter to get him to LSU. “Rees, who is a former quarterback at Notre Dame, came up through the coaching ranks as an assistant under Brian Kelly in South Bend,” he wrote. “Rees then became Notre Dame’s offensive coordinator and reportedly had an offer on the table to become the SEC’s highest-paid coordinator under Kelly at LSU last offseason.”
McDaniel sees Saban’s desire to built out his own coaching tree as a reason he is targeting Rees. “When Coach Saban comes calling, that is a tough offer to turn down,” he wrote. “Rees is one of the country’s top young offensive coordinators, and Saban has a track record of turning coordinators into head coaches, which is likely on Rees’s mind as he mulls his decision.”
Ryan Grubb Snubbed Alabama Football Offensive Coordinator Job
In a shocking turn of events, Washington offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb chose not to leave Seattle and stuck with the Huskies despite a job offer from Alabama football on January 31. He has received two raises from Washington since the end of his initial season with the team in 2022. Grubb previously worked at Fresno State for five years, and was at Eastern Michigan for three years before that.
As Grubb explained back in November when he received his first extension that Seattle is a special place that he isn’t sold on leaving yet (h/t 247Sports). “My initial emotional response to being here (in January of 2022) was that this place could be unbelievably special, not knowing really anything about Washington,” Grubb said. “Now, going through a full year of it and seeing the support of the community and the kids that are in this program, this place is incredibly special, so I’m excited to be here.”
Rees now moves into the driver’s seat for the offensive coordinator role with Grubb turning it down.