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Alabama targeting Notre Dame’s OC to replace Bill O’Brien

Notre Dame OC Tommy Rees on the field during 2021 season for the Irish.
Matt Cashore - USA Today Sports

A name has emerged out of nowhere that may replace Bill O’Brien as Alabama’s offensive coordinator.

ESPN’s Chris Low reports that Tommy Rees has become the top target for the Crimson Tide. The 30-year-old is the offensive coordinator at Notre Dame and former quarterback of the Fighting Irish. Per Low, Rees has had discussions with Nick Saban and is scheduled to be on the University of Alabama campus Thursday. O’Brien left the Tide to return to the NFL for the Patriots.

Rees played quarterback at Notre Dame from 2010 to 2013, compiling 7,351 passing yards, 61 touchdowns, and 37 interceptions.

RELATED: Former Alabama OL takes coaching job at Western Kentucky

He was the backup signal-caller on the 2012 Irish team that played Alabama in the 2013 BCS National Championship Game.

Rees started 30 games at Notre Dame, including 12 in 2013. His coaching career started at Northwestern as a graduate assistant in 2015, but Rees served as an offensive assistant with the San Diego Chargers (2016) before returning to his Alma mater. He has been a quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator for the Irish since 2017, helping the program average 30+ points per game. 

Rees mentored Ian Book to become an NFL Draft pick and produced success with Jack Coan as a transfer.

Kyren Williams became a two-time 1,000-yard running back (2020-21) under Rees.

Josh Adam posted over 1,400 yards rushing (1,430) in 2017 with nine touchdowns. Rees’ offense helped Chase Claypool to 1,037 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns in 2019, making him a second-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Rees is about having balance on offense, and he’s helped Notre Dame to the College Football Playoff a few times. The Irish were not explosive last season, but it will be interesting to see if Rees is the guy moving forward for Saban.

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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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