There has been zero official news that Bill O’Brien will not be the Alabama Football Offensive Coordinator next season. Instead, indications he will not be, have built a nearly universal expectation of a change. Persistent rumors are that both Nick Saban and Bill O’Brien want a transition.
If the rumors and expectations are accurate, Nick Saban has no doubt been working on finding the next guy. It is possible Saban already has him lined up and is waiting until after the Sugar Bowl to make an announcement.
Lots of names are being mentioned by Alabama football fans. Which ones provide what Saban is looking for is hard to know. We do know Saban’s hiring pattern has been to choose someone he has a connection with, or someone well known, to a close connection of Saban.
There is also a belief this time Saban values college coaching experience over NFL experience.
Among Alabama Crimson Tide fans, SMU OC, Garrett Riley and Arkansas OC, Kendal Briles are big favorites. Former LSU coach Joe Brady is another popular choice. Two more names that come up with less frequency are Jason Garrett and Freddie Kitchens.
Nick Saban may decide to roll with any one of those five guys. He might also surprise with the next Alabama Football OC being a name no one has suggested.
Two good choices for Alabama Football
With all those possibilities, there are two other guys who seem to be best fits for Nick Saban and the needs of the Alabama Crimson Tide. They are Dan Mullen and Brian Johnson.
As all SEC football fans know, Mullen has extensive college experience as both an OC and head coach. He is respected for the work he did with quarterbacks at Florida and Mississippi State. Mullen is not married to a certain offensive scheme and should be adaptable to the offensive principles Saban wants to maintain.
Ironically, Brian Johnson has close ties to Mullen, having been his OC at Mississippi State and Florida. Johnson is now Jalen Hurts’ QB coach with the Philadelphia Eagles. Johnson, at 35, is in a group of fast-rising NFL assistants who appear likely to gain NFL head coaching jobs in the next few years. Along with being on Dan Mullen’s staffs, Johnson coached at Utah and the Univerity of Houston.
Some Alabama football fans may remember, as the Utah quarterback in the 2009 Sugar Bowl, Brian Johnson threw three touchdown passes against the Crimson Tide. Mullen’s relationship with Johnson goes back to University of Utah connections.
Most Alabama football fans are prepared to believe that whoever Nick Saban chooses will be the right man for the job. The Crimson Tide offense should do well with Mullen or Johnson.
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