Bringing in 31-year-old Tommy Rees was a bold move for Nick Saban. Alabama fans are hoping the results will be similar to the impacts made by Lane Kiffin and later, by Steve Sarkisian. It is too soon to know if Rees has such potential.
It is reasonable to believe Rees has a play-calling style better suited to the college game than did Bill O’Brien. It seemed O’Brien too often struggled to inject any rhythm into Crimson Tide drives. O’Brien does not deserve all the blame, but he was not able to cure key weaknesses that kept the Crimson Tide offense short of championship quality.
With better performances in a few key games by the Tide’s 2021 and 2022 defenses, O’Brien’s offenses would have been enough. Going back to 2016, Alabama had been either No.1 or No, 2 in the SEC in Scoring Offense every season. In 2022, it slipped, but only to No. 3.
Nick Saban has been brimming with praise of Tommy Rees,
"I love Tommy Rees. He’s a really good offensive coordinator. He’s bright. He does a great job of presenting to our players. He has a really good relationship with the players. He’s got that overall view of things. He’s not stubborn about things. Very open to new ideas, how we’re going to make it work. And he’s humble. When you’re humble, you’re always looking for a better way."
As every Alabama football fan knows, making it work means using Nick Saban’s Alabama offense and making it better. Certain ingredients are essential; minimizing penalties, protecting the football, and getting multiple playmakers involved to keep opposing defenses guessing. On top of Saban’s accolades, numerous reports from Alabama football insiders state the offensive players are excited about playing for Rees.
There is another essential ingredient in order for Tommy Rees to succeed and it takes us to the third ‘most important’ assistant coach.