With rumors swirling that Alabama offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien could leave for the NFL, did the Crimson Tide’s best replacement just become available?
Much to the delight of Alabama football fans, there has been speculation over the past month or so that offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien might not be in that position for the 2023 season. Reports have indicated that the former Texans head coach could make a return to the NFL as the Patriots OC.
That, however, would obviously leave a vacancy on Nick Saban’s staff that the Crimson Tide would need to fill. There is a bevy of options that would make sense, but one of the most obvious might’ve just become available.
On Black Monday in the NFL, the Arizona Cardinals made head coach Kliff Kingsbury the latest casualty as they chose to fire him one year after signing him to an extension.
The move is far from shocking given his shortcomings in the NFL with the Cardinals. At the same time, though, he would make a ton of sense as the Bill O’Brien replacement at Alabama.
Alabama football: Kliff Kingsbury now available to replace Bill O’Brien as OC
For one, Kingsbury’s failures in Arizona would simply make him a prime candidate for the unofficial Nick Saban Alabama School for Wayward Coaches. Over the years, Saban has routinely brought former head coaches onto his staff to help them rehabilitate their image in coaching circles and has done so successfully with the likes of Lane Kiffin, Steve Sarkisian, O’Brien and others. Kingsbury would fit into that mold perfectly.
Beyond that, though, Kingsbury has proven to be a successful offensive mind at the college level. As the Texas Tech head coach from 2013-18, the Red Raiders never ranked outside of the top 25 in total yards per game and were only outside of the top 25 in points per game once (2014). Moreover, they were a Top 2 total offense in both 2015 and 2016.
His resumé goes back further than that, though. As the Texas A&M offensive coordinator in 2012, the Aggies ranked third in total yards and fifth in scoring. At Houston the two years prior as the co-offensive coordinator, the Cougars were in the top 15 in scoring and yards in 2010 and were the best offense in college football in 2011.
While his chops as a head coach overall might be lacking, Kingsbury has proven at places with far less talent than what Alabama can bring in that he can create a highly potent offense using many of the modern concepts that are widespread in today’s game. Now he would have a bevy of 5-star talent to do so with the Crimson Tide, which could yield elite results — and he wouldn’t have to worry about the defensive side of the ball.
Given the poor image he created with his mess in Arizona, it might not be a wholly popular move for Alabama to replace Bill O’Brien with Kliff Kingsbury, but it could well be the right one. His track record says he can provide the spark needed on that side of the ball and now he’s looking for work. That might be as good of a match as you’re going to find for the Crimson Tide.