Monday was the final time for several Alabama to wear the crimson and white and take the field to represent their university. But it may have also been the final time for Crimson Tide offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien to command the team’s play-calling for that side of the ball.
O’Brien’s name began to heat up just days ahead of the national title game as there were several reports of his name coming up for NFL coaching positions. In the coming days, O’Brien is expected to interview for the Jacksonville Jaguars head coaching job and will also be targeted by the Carolina Panthers for its offensive coordinator position.
Alabama is no stranger to seeing its play-callers make the leap to the NFL following championship games. Back in 2017, offensive coordinator Brian Daboll was hired for the same position with the Buffalo Bills after one year on the job for the Crimson Tide. Steve Sarkisian made a similar leap as he became the offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons after calling just one game (the national championship) during the 2016 season.
Since then the Crimson Tide’s offensive player callers have seen great success with the last two coordinators preceding O’Brien in Sarkisian (Texas) and Mike Locksley (Maryland) both received head coaching jobs at the college level in no more than two seasons on the job.
But O’Brien has not gone without his fair share of criticism, particularly with his situational play calling but he’s put together a solid resume from a numbers perspective.
When looking at the numbers it’s clear why O’Brien would be considered for these major jobs at the professional level. At the completion of the 2021 season, Alabama’s offense finished ranked seventh nationally in yards per game (488.2 yards), seventh in passing yards per game (338.2 yards) and sixth in points per game (39.6 points).
O’Brien also helped Alabama quarterback Bryce Young make school history as he became the first player at his position to win the Heisman Trophy in the history of the program.
Even after a loss in the national championship where O’Brien’s unit only put up 18 points albeit, without his two leading receivers in John Metchie and Jameson Williams, his interest from the NFL may not end with just two teams.
Four more teams in the Chicago Bears, Minnesota Vikings, Miami Dolphins and Denver Broncos all opted to part ways with their respective head coaches on Monday. Three of the four new openings parted ways with defensive-minded head coaches and all have needs for improvement at the quarterback position. It may not be a stretch to assume that O’Brien’s name will continue to come up.
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Patrick Dowd is a Reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter, via Pat_Dowd77