Alabama Football: So far no springboard for Tide OC Bill O’Brien


Being an Alabama Football Offensive Coordinator under Nick Saban has often been a career stepping stone. So far, it has not been for Bill O’Brien. The former Penn State and Houston Texans head coach has been linked to multiple job openings this offseason. Currently, it does not appear O’Brien has been given or will get, an offer to his liking.

The widely held belief O’Brien would return to the New England Patriots as Offensive Coordinator has fizzled. NFL insider, Ian Rapoport recently explained why,

"I do believe Bill O’Brien was considered. I think it’s something he would have considered as well. But in the end, it ends up being Joe Judge on the offensive side of the ball … The way the Patriots are configured, it’s always a little different. They’ve gone [years] without a defensive coordinator. They’ve gone years without an offensive coordinator."

Bill Belichick and Nick Saban are not guys to rush when hiring assistants. They are also close enough to believe any potential move by O’Brien would be discussed by the old friends. It is not known if the Patriots’ coach actually passed on O’Brien in favor of Joe Judge. Unlike some Alabama football fans, Nick Saban might not want O’Brien to leave. It has been well-reported that O’Brien and Bryce Young have built a close bond. The 2022 season, when much of the offense must be re-tooled might not be a good time for a new OC.

Talking about Nick Saban’s OCs, only Major Applewhite and Doug Nussmeir failed to have their Alabama football, coaching resumes lead to being a head coach. For the others, except Brian Daboll, who got his first head coach job with the New York Giants recently, there has been a direct path from Tuscaloosa to head coaching.

Jin McElwain moved to Colorado State, then Florida, and now Central Michigan. Lane Kiffin revived his career and got back to head coaching, at Florida Atlantic and now Ole Miss. Mike Locksley was another revival recipient when he got the Maryland job. The biggest springboard lift was the one Steve Sarkisian got, giving him another chance as a head coach, with the Texas Longhorns.

Bill O’Brien may not have received enough credit from Crimson Tide fans for his work in the 2021 season. There are reasons to gipe about his play-calling in some short-yardage situations, but without the injuries to John Metchie III and Jameson Williams, the Crimson Tide would have likely repeated as National Champion.

Bryce Young got little experience in the 2020 season and O’Brien played a major role in the young man winning a Heisman. Young and O’Brien did it, despite an offensive line that too often struggled in pass protection.

A couple of weeks ago, Nick Saban said of O’Brien,

"Bill’s done a great job for us here, and Bill’s had a very successful career. I don’t think Bill’s trying to leave."

Saban’s opinion is the only one that matters and that should be enough for Crimson Tide fans.

Next. Astounding Nick Saban accomplishments. dark

Does Auburn have an OC yet? Has Bryan Harsin been given adequate funds to replace exiting staff? Neither question has an answer at college football’s most bizarre program.