Bill O’Brien hired by Patriots: 3 Alabama replacements to hire as offensive coordinator

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Alabama football Bill O'Brien replacements

Bill O’Brien, Alabama Crimson Tide (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Bill O’Brien is officially gone from Alabama football as he’s been hired by the Patriots. Now who can the Crimson Tide get to replace him?

It finally happened. Whether Alabama football fans thought it was a pipe dream or too outlandish to be reality, the Crimson Tide are now free from overly frustrating offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien after he accepted the same role with the New England Patriots for a return to the NFL.

Nick Saban and Alabama are now searching for a new offensive coordinator, though you have to believe that the rumblings since mid-December that O’Brien could be gone for New England have already got the Crimson Tide staff having names circled or potentially already contacted.

We’ve already discussed potential Bill O’Brien replacements previously. However, candidates mentioned in that discussion included Garrett Riley, who has now been hired by Clemson, and Kliff Kingsbury, who has reportedly not been interested in a return to college football. So it’s time to reopen the floor.

Narrowing it down to three names, these three should be at the top of Nick Saban’s list to be the new Alabama football offensive coordinator with Bill O’Brien now officially gone.

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Alabama football: 3 Bill O’Brien replacements after Patriots hire OC for same role

Jeff Lebby
OC Oklahoma

Jeff Lebby represents the changes Nick Saban could want for the Alabama offense

Nick Saban famously looked at spread offense concepts more than a decade ago and essentially asked if that’s what we wanted college football to become. The subtext of that, however, was him saying “do you really want me to start running this with Alabama’s level of talent?” And the answer was that the rest of the country did not because the shift helped shape the Crimson Tide dynasty.

But now offense has shifted even a bit further as we’ve seen coaches mutate and adapt the old Baylor-style offense, something that Josh Heupel at Tennessee used this season to reignite the Vols but also, more pressingly, to beat Bama. So why wouldn’t Saban use the logic he previously did to beat other programs with their own game?

That’s what Jeff Lebby would bring to the table. Another disciple of the Briles/Leach type coaching tree, he spent last season at Oklahoma in his first year with the Sooners and, while it was a disappointing outing in Norman, the offense was still up-tempo, effective and productive more often than not. He made the same things happen at Ole Miss under Lane Kiffin as well.

It might take Alabama cutting a hefty check to lure Lebby away from the Sooners after he just arrived, but a move to Tuscaloosa would undoubtedly be an upgrade. And the notion of Lebby working with the talent that Saban has assembled in this program is incredibly enticing for fans to ponder.

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