Alabama football needs a new offensive coordinator.
Bill O’Brien, who joined the Crimson Tide ahead of the 2021 season, will be the offensive coordinator for the New England Patriots, according to multiple media outlets. ESPN was the first to report the move. O’Brien’s contract with UA was set to expire at the end of February.
O’Brien, from Massachusetts, returns to the Patriots, for whom he served as an assistant coach from 2007-2010 and offensive coordinator in 2011. Now he will have a chance to work with former Alabama quarterback Mac Jones in New England.
During his time in Tuscaloosa, O’Brien also served as the quarterbacks coach. Under his tutelage, quarterback Bryce Young won the Heisman Trophy as a sophomore in 2021.
However, O’Brien has been a popular lightning rod for criticism from fans for his play calling. The noise got even louder in his second season. The offense struggled at times in 2022 to be consistent and create big plays, but still managed to become a top-10 scoring offense. It finished the regular season tied for the No. 4 scoring offense in the country, averaging 40.8 points per possession. match.
In O’Brien’s first season as play-caller, the Crimson Tide averaged 39.9 points per game. game, which was sixth among FBS teams. Alabama gained 488.3 yards per game, which ranked eighth nationally. The Crimson Tide reached the College Football Playoff Championship, falling to Georgia.
After a loss to LSU in November, Alabama coach Nick Saban was asked to evaluate the work O’Brien had done with the offense.
“I don’t want to analyze anybody publicly, good, bad or indifferent,” Saban said. “We’re all working hard together. We’re all accountable for what we do. Do we need to play better on both sides of the ball? Absolutely.”
O’Brien joined the Crimson Tide after the Houston Texans fired him in October 2020. He had served as general manager and coach for the franchise, for whom he finished with a 52–48 record. He was hired by the Texans in 2014.
ALABAMA FOOTBALL:Alabama football’s 2023 schedule is complete. See the full list of opponents, dates
BRYCE YOUNG:Sushi, trash cans and a dollar bill: How Bryce Young’s QB training began at age 5
O’Brien was reportedly in contention for other jobs at the end of the 2021 season, but he stayed in Tuscaloosa for another season.
“I made a commitment to Coach Saban,” O’Brien said at the start of the 2022 preseason practice. “Those things come up in terms of what your role is in different programs where you’ve been. I’ve been doing this a long time and I’ve had different roles in coaching, so obviously those things come up . But I committed to Coach Saban. I love coaching here. The players, the coaching staff, it’s been — like I said in the opening here — it’s been a really good experience. I’ve learned a lot. I’m very thankful to Coach for to give me this opportunity.”
Prior to his time in Houston, O’Brien coached Penn State. He was the first coach of the Nittany Lions since Joe Paterno. For his efforts in State College, O’Brien won Big Ten Coach of the Year, ESPN National Coach of the Year and Paul “Bear” Bryant College Coach of the Year in 2012. He finished 8-4 that year, fresh off the fallout from the Jerry Sandusky scandal. No coach had more wins in his first year at Penn State than O’Brien.
In the college ranks, he also made stops at Duke, Maryland, Georgia Tech and Brown, where he played in college.
During his coaching career, O’Brien has had the opportunity to work for two of the greatest football coaches of all time in Saban and Bill Belichick.
“I respect the hell out of them both,” O’Brien said in December 2021, “and I’m grateful for the opportunity I’ve had.”