Georgia Tech Athletic Director Hire Could Lead to Bill O’Brien as Head Coach

Bill O'Brien could be a head coaching candidate for Georgia Tech

Getty Georgia Tech's hiring of Alabama executive deputy AD J Batt could lead to Crimson Tide offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien being the next Yellow Jackets coach (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Georgia Tech’s hire for their athletic director role — Alabama executive deputy AD J Batt -per Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter Ken Sugiura — could open the gateway for Crimson Tide offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien to become the next Yellow Jackets head coach.

While O’Brien’s name has been linked to the Nebraska Cornhuskers opening, Georgia Tech’s choice of a candidate with recent direct ties to the former Yellow Jackets graduate assistant, running backs coach, and offensive coordinator could help the transition for the current Nick Saban underling back into becoming a head coach.

O’Brien last served as a lead locker room voice for the Houston Texans, overseeing the development of Deshaun Watson into a max contract superstar under center in the NFL. Before that, his last college head coaching gig was in the wake of Joe Paterno’s departure from Penn State due to his lack of action upon finding out about the sexual abuse of minors committed by ex-defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.

Bill O’Brien Also Has Connections With Nebraska’s Athletic Director

Bill O’Brien is a well-connected man from nearly 30 continuous years of coaching at both the collegiate and NFL levels. Not only does he have ties with Georgia Tech’s new athletic direct J Batt, but he also worked with Nebraska’s athletic director, Trev Alberts.

Bruce Feldman detailed that in a piece for The Athletic on September 20 (subscription required). “O’Brien and [Nebraska athletic director] Trev Alberts have a connection dating back to O’Brien’s days as an assistant at Georgia Tech,” Feldman wrote. “We hear Alberts has great admiration for the rebuilding job O’Brien did at Penn State. … O’Brien displayed real leadership when he arrived in Happy Valley and helped build the foundation for a turnaround.”

It could come down to a bidding war between a Nebraska program that just paid out a $16.4 million firing package to Scott Frost and Georgia Tech, who just paid Geoff Collins $11.37 million to leave Atlanta — choosing to pay the $4 million extra it could have saved had it waited until January to dismiss him.

Bill O’Brien Will Finish Out His Duties For Nick Saban

No matter where Bill O’Brien lands next, it will not be happening in the midst of the 2022 season. O’Brien has vowed to finish his duties for Nick Saban, which included the 2021 season and the current campaign — one in which the Crimson Tide are undefeated through the first half of the regular season.

O’Brien told the Boston Sports Journal on April 10 that he’d committed to sticking in Tuscaloosa for two years and that he planned on following through with that agreement. Those Crimson Tide fans who would likely welcome him leaving earlier than that are out of luck.

It’s likely that O’Brien will serve as a scapegoat when he does eventually move on from Alabama, especially if the Crimson Tide don’t win the College Football Playoff national championship in January 2023. The reality is that Georgia was the one obstacle a year ago, and may prove the same again this season if Tennessee doesn’t soon take that mantle themselves.

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