NFL coaching veteran Brian Daboll to lead Alabama offense, sources say

ByChris Low ESPN logo
Saturday, February 18, 2017

NFL coaching veteran Brian Daboll will be named Alabama's offensive coordinator, sources said.

Daboll spent the last three seasons as the New England Patriots' tight ends coach. He becomes Alabama's fifth different offensive coordinator since the conclusion of the 2011 season, when Jim McElwain left for the Colorado State head-coaching job.

Daboll will replace Steve Sarkisian, whose only game as the Crimson Tide offensive coordinator was the College Football Playoff National Championship loss to Clemson. Sarkisian, the former USC head coach, left earlier this month to be the Atlanta Falcons' offensive coordinator.

Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban had interviewed both Daboll and former Houston Texans' offensive coordinator George Godsey in the last few weeks. Alabama co-offensive coordinator Mike Locksley was also a candidate for the job after being promoted from an offensive analyst role.

Daboll, 41, has spent 17 seasons in the NFL, the last four with the Patriots. He was thought to be the heir apparent to Josh McDaniels as the team's offensive coordinator.

Daboll has served two different stints in New England, both under Bill Belichick, and has been an offensive coordinator for three different teams in the NFL. He was the Kansas City Chiefs' offensive coordinator in 2012 after spending the 2011 season as the Miami Dolphins' offensive coordinator. He spent the 2009 and 2010 seasons as the Cleveland Browns' offensive coordinator, and before that he was the New York Jets' quarterbacks coach in 2007 and 2008.

Saban and Belichick have deep ties going back to the early 1980s, when Saban worked on the Navy staff alongside Belichick's father, Steve. Also, Daboll was a graduate assistant at Michigan State for two years in 1998 and 1999, when Saban was the Spartans' head coach.

At the top of Daboll's to-do list will be grooming Alabama's young quarterbacks. Last season,Jalen Hurts was the first true freshman to start at quarterback in Saban's career. He was 13-1 as a starter and was named the AP's SEC Offensive Player of the Year.

But freshman Tua Tagovailoa of Hawaii will push Hurts this spring. An early enrollee, Tagovailoa (6-foot-1, 215 pounds) was ranked by ESPN as the No. 1 dual-threat quarterback prospect in the country.