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Is it too late for Nick Saban to look at Alex Mortensen for Alabama OC position?

Alabama head coach Nick Saban thinking as he walks across the field at Bryant-Denny Stadium before 2022 game against Mississippi State
Gary Cosby Jr. - USA Today Sports

He is on Trent Dilfer’s coaching staff for the University of Alabama at Birmingham as an offensive coordinator, but is it too late for Nick Saban to look at Alex Mortensen for Alabama’s offensive play-caller position?

Four marquee names – Jeff Lebby, Joe Brady, Brian Johnson, and Dan Mullen — have drawn consideration to replace Bill O’Brien as offensive coordinator, but what would Saban be interested in returning a former offensive analyst for the role?

RELATED: How Bill O’Brien’s departure will impact Alabama football recruiting

Mortensen is recruiting at UAB, but we have seen moments where college coaches take different jobs instantly.

Dan Enos had been expected to be the offensive coordinator at Michigan in 2018, but he jumped ship when Alabama called him to be its quarterbacks’ coach. Joe Brady signed a contract extension to remain at Louisiana State University after a perfect 2019 season; however, he left for the Carolina Panthers of the National Football League. It is not too late for Saban to pull Mortensen, but will the young offensive mind be willing to return? He has yet to coordinate an offense in his career, but Mortensen has seen successful minds at work behind the scenes.

He watched Lane Kiffin maneuver from 2014 to 2016 as a graduate assistant. He witnessed Brian Daboll take the Crimson Tide to a College Football Playoff National Championship in 2017. Mortensen had a front-row seat to “joyless murderball” with Michael Locksley in 2018 and saw another national championship with Steve Sarkisian in 2020 as an off-field analyst. His role in assisting Blake Sims, Jacob Coker, Jalen Hurts, Tua Tagovailoa, Mac Jones, and Bryce Young to become successful was integral. Sims, Tagovailoa, Jones, and Young restructured the single-season school history book for passing yards, passing touchdowns, and total touchdowns.

Sims, Coker, Tagovailoa, Jones, and Young tossed for 3,000+ passing yards. 

Mortensen helped Young become Alabama’s first quarterback to win the Heisman Trophy. He knows offenses, he puts quarterbacks and skill players at ease behind the scenes, and he knows what it takes to win championships. Mortensen was on six Southeastern Conference Championship teams (2014-16, 2018, 2020-21) and three CFP National Championship teams (2015, 2017, and 2020) for Alabama. If Saban can grab him away from UAB, Mortensen would be a good get for the Tide.

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Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

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Stephen Smith is a 2015 graduate of the University of Alabama. He is a senior writer and reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. He has covered Alabama football for 10+ years and his knowledge and coverage of the Crimson Tide's program have made him among the most respected journalist in his field. Smith has been featured on ESPN and several other marquee outlets as an analyst.

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