10 candidates to be Alabama’s next offensive coordinator
Alabama offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien agreed to be the next offensive coordinator for the New England Patriots. This was not a scenario where fans were caught by surprise. However, some fans felt that he may return to the program in some capacity if the Patriots did not add him to their coaching staff.
This will be O’Brien’s second stint as the Patriots offensive coordinator. He formerly held the same position in 2011. With O’Brien’s departure, Alabama will look to replace him soon.
With college football constantly changing, it would not be surprising to see Alabama convert to a new style of play. That is the up-tempo, balanced offense that many programs around the country run. If that is the case, it will be interesting to see who takes the reigns in Tuscaloosa.
Roll Tide Wire breaks down 10 potential candidates to replace O’Brien as Alabama’s next offensive coordinator.
Shawn Dowd-USA TODAY NETWORK
I hate to bring up the past. However, I am sure that Alabama fans recall LSU knocking off the Tide in 2019. The Tigers’ offense seemed unstoppable with the likes of Joe Burrow, Ja’marr Chase, and Justin Jefferson. That explosive offense was led by Joe Brady. The offensive mastermind left the program following their championship season to become the offensive coordinator for the Carolina Panthers. Since then, he moved on to be the quarterbacks’ coach for the Buffalo Bills. With the way that college football is moving towards up-tempo, highly-explosive offenses, Brady would be a good fit. He is used to developing quarterbacks and implementing the right system to fit the quarterbacks’ style of play. One thing to note is that Brady is set to interview with the Los Angeles Chargers for their opening offensive coordinator position, however.
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Byron Leftwich is a name that stands out in the search for the Tide’s next offensive coordinator. The native of Washington, D.C. has experience at the professional level as both a quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator. Leftwich was most recently the offensive coordinator for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He saw early success on Bruce Arians’ staff but struggled this past season. A change of scenery might be best and what better way than to coach under Nick Saban?
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
It might be a stretch, but Saban could reach out to Oklahoma offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby. The former Oklahoma Sooner has made several stops in the coaching field. His most notable stops came when he served as the offensive coordinator for Ole Miss and Central Florida. It is worth noting that he was under two of the most prominent play-callers in the country: Lane Kiffin and Josh Heupel. With college football changing ever so quickly, Alabama could look to pry him away from Norman. It will not be easy, but Lebby is worth the right price.
(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
The last name Trickett might seem familiar to fellow college football fans as well as some Alabama fans. Why? Trickett’s brother, Travis, served as a graduate assistant at Alabama in 2007. As for Clint, he played quarterback for West Virginia from 2013-2014. Since then, he has gone into coaching and climbed the ranks to be the Marshall offensive coordinator under former Tide assistant Charles Huff. Last season, the Herd averaged 205.9 rushing yards per game. In comparison, Alabama averaged 195.7 rushing yards per game. Trickett did that with two elite running backs, Khalan Laborn and Rasheen Ali. However, he would have even more weapons at Alabama. If Saban prefers to return to a run-heavy offense of the past, Trickett might be his guy.
Kevin Lytle/The Coloradoan-Imagn Content Services, LLC
According to Alabama Touchdown Magazine, Saban referred to Cox as one of the “bright young guys” on the Alabama coaching staff. He also added that he was very impressed with his knowledge. That being said, Cox could be under consideration to be the Tide’s next offensive coordinator. He formerly played quarterback at Georgia in the early 2000s. He has also coached in the SEC on two different occasions as South Carolina’s wide receivers coach and Alabama’s tight ends coach. His familiarity with multiple offensive positions and knowledge of the Alabama standard could allow him to elevate to a larger role on the coaching staff.
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Despite being an NFL head coach, most people remember Kingsbury for being the mastermind behind the Texas A&M offense led by Heisman winner Johnny Manziel. Since then, his success has been somewhat limited. He was Texas Tech’s head coach from 2013-2018 before becoming the Arizona Cardinals‘ head coach. His past two stops have brought their fair share of ups and downs. However, he could be looking for a fresh start. His ingenuity and ability to utilize his playmakers are something that stands out. I would not be surprised to see him end up in Tuscaloosa. He has a similar head coaching career as previous Alabama offensive coordinators Steve Sarkisian and Lane Kiffin. We remember how much they helped innovate the Tide’s offense.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Many are probably not familiar with the name Shea Tierney. However, Tierney was an offensive analyst at Alabama for two seasons. After his short stint in Tuscaloosa, Tierney joined the Buffalo Bills coaching staff. Since then, he has climbed the coaching ranks alongside former Alabama offensive coordinator Brian Daboll.
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
One name that is probably familiar to many Alabama fans is Major Applewhite. The former Texas quarterback has been on the coaching staff at Alabama on two separate occasions. He served as the Crimson Tide’s first offensive coordinator of the Nick Saban era. He spent one season as the team’s play-caller before accepting a new coaching gig as Texas’ running backs coach. After six years with the program, he agreed to be Houston’s next head coach. He saw some flashes of success with the Cougars but was ultimately fired in 2018. He re-joined Saban’s staff for two seasons before becoming South Alabama’s offensive coordinator in 2021. The Jaguars’ offense averaged 31 points per game and over 423 yards per game. Not to mention, he led them to one of their best seasons in program history as they finished 10-3. He is a name to monitor moving forward.
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
One name that came up two years ago in the Tide’s offensive coordinator search was Adam Gase. The former New York Jets head coach has made several stops in the coaching ranks at both the college and professional levels. One stop that ties him to Nick Saban was when he served as a recruiting assistant at LSU in the early 2000s. If Saban elects to go in a route similar to Bill O’Brien, he might look to add the former NFL head coach. He has a lot of experience and could provide great insight into Alabama’s young quarterback room.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
It might seem far-fetched that Nick Saban would go as far as Utah to find his next offensive play-caller. However, he might look in that direction considering the offensive prowess that Utah offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig has created in Salt Lake City. Ludwig has made several stops as an offensive coordinator in different places over the years. Some of his more notable coaching stops came as offensive coordinator with Oregon, Cal-Berkeley, and Vanderbilt. If Alabama would like a truly balanced offensive attack, Ludwig might be the guy.