Alabama Football: Crimson Tide fans and Bill O’Brien agree

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

All season a chorus of Alabama football fans have been clamoring for an exit of Bill O’Brien. Rightly or wrongly, O’Brien has been targeted as the reason why this season’s offense has often struggled.

In fairness to O’Brien and Pete Golding as well, Crimsom Tide coordinators are traditionally blamed for shortcomings. Almost no fans are going to point an accusing finger at Nick Saban. So when the Crimson Tide is not championship caliber, someone else gets the blame.

The tweets are mild compared to many message board comments.

There are indications Bill O’Brien and disgruntled Tide fans agree it is time for his Tuscaloosa stay to end. Knowledgeable Alabama insiders contend the plan for O’Brien at Alabama was always for two seasons. Nick Saban could have changed the plan and made it one season, but that would have led to Bryce Young having to work with a third OC, in three seasons.

O’Brien has been mentioned in multiple, college head coaching, job searches, including Colorado, Nebraska and Arizona State. He was also believed to have been a finalist before Georgia Tech went with Brent Key.

It has been rumored O’Brien has turned down at least one job opportunity. Perhaps he favors a return to the NFL rather than the rigors of college coaching and recruiting.

It is likely a return to the NFL will not be as a head coach. O’Brien earned praise for his job at State College stabilizing a difficult situation. His two-year stint with the Nittany Lions resulted in 15 wins. Considering the NCAA penalized the Nittany Lions with post-season bans and a loss of 40 scholarships over a four-year period, O’Brien’s Penn State record was remarkable.

Leaving Penn State to become head coach of the Houston Texans, O’Brien’s previous success as a Patriot’s assistant was expected to translate to strong results by Houston. From a 2-14 record in 2013, O’Brien made Houston a Playoff contender in 2014, winning nine games. The Texans were 9-7 in each of O’Brien’s first three seasons in Houston.

The 2017 season was dreadful for the Texans as they finished 4-12. The next two seasons Houston won the AFC South, but the success was not lasting. After starting 2020 at 0-4, O’Brien was fired.

What comes next for Alabama Football?

Two things are expected to happen. One is Bill O’Brien will return to the NFL as an Offensive Coordinator. Frequent reports have him reuniting with Bill Belichick and the Patriots.

Alabama football insiders believe O’Brien will stay with the Crimson Tide through the bowl game. How long Nick Saban will wait to replace him is not known. As there have been for months, many names will be mentioned for the Tide’s next OC. It is possible, maybe even probable, that Nick Saban already knows who he wants.

Next. Some key players may return. dark

There is probably no need to rush a decision and announcement prior to the late December early signing period. Recruits are choosing Alabama (or not) because of the program’s strength and Nick Saban, not because of Bill O’Brien.