Sorry for posting this bit of breaking news late but if you haven't heard, Doug Nussmeier has accepted the offensive coordinator position at Michigan. This announcement was met with mixed reviews from the Alabama fan base and twitter alike. The Michigan crowd seems to feel they stole Alabama's guy right from under our noses and Alabama fans feel Saban let Nuss go without much, if any, fight at all.
Honestly, it's hard to not agree with the Alabama position. With Nussmeier's salary of $680,000, if Alabama wanted to keep him on, we wouldn't be talking about his possible replacement today. Alabama is near the top when it comes to assistant salaries and there's no doubt in my mind if Saban felt Doug was worth the money, $850,000 (his reported raise at Michigan) wouldn't be much of a stretch at all.
For Nussmeier, this was a smart and timely move. I've never been one to jump on play calling, or lack there of, as much as others but the offense never seemed to click the way you'd expect with the talent currently on UA's campus. After McElwain left for Colorado State, Nussmeier seemed like an obvious replacement— Similar methodologies/ pedigrees and a guy you expected to work with-in the system to develop the players and keep the train churning out NFL talent. CHOO CHOO!
Talent notwithstanding, offensive coordinator at Alabama should be a dream job and an easy one at that. Saban plays to his defense and desires balance from his offense. McElwain was able to achieve this with deadly efficiency but Nussmeier, especially in 2013, seemingly struggled to properly utilize the passing game and distribute carries/touches to the rather hefty amount of talent at running back and wide receiver.
Again, I have no ill will towards Nussmeier or regret his time at Alabama but the offense in 2013 never developed an identity and players who we all thought would be untouchable (see OJ Howard) disappeared for games at a time. Add to this the disappearance of the pistol formation, a staple under McElwain and one that helped Ingram win a Heisman trophy, and it was probably best that he move on from Alabama.
Coach Nussmeier, thank you for the memories and I wish you the best in your future endeavors.
So, Who's Next?
At this point, any name mentioned would be pure speculation but the hot name being thrown out (with little to no merit) would be Lane Kiffin.
I know, what a bizarre idea. But if you think Kiffin to Alabama isn't a possibility, remember that Lane and Saban are good friends and he was in Tuscaloosa during bowl prep "advising" the Alabama offensive coaching staff. Also, think of the timing. Nussmeier was hired almost immediately following Al Borges' departure from Michigan and speculation began, even weeks ago, that Kiffin was in T-town interviewing, not advising..
Would it shock you if Saban and Michigan knew of the Borges-Nussmeier switcharoo and the plan all along was to hire Kiffin as his replacement? Sounds like a Sabanesque move if I've ever heard one.
Lane Kiffin in Tuscaloosa may sound like a dirty trick but is one that could reap national championship awards Lane certainly has the skill set to produce the type of offense we've only dreamed about at Alabama. A quick glance at Kiffin's Wikipedia page (I know, sue me)
USC Trojans assistant coach
Kiffin began working with the University of Southern California (USC) staff during the 2001 season and became the wide receivers coach prior to the 2002 season. For the 2004 season, he added the duties of passing game coordinator, and he was promoted to offensive coordinator for the 2005 season after Norm Chow left USC for the same position with the NFL's Tennessee Titans. Kiffin also took the reins as recruiting coordinator that year. Along with these duties, Kiffin continued as the wide receivers coach. Under Kiffin in 2005 the USC offense produced numerous school records, averaging 49.1 points and 579 yards per game and becoming the first in NCAA history to have a 3,000 yard passer (Matt Leinart), two 1,000 yard rushers (Reggie Bush and LenDale White), and a 1,000 yard receiver (Dwayne Jarrett). Steve Smith fell a few yards of also surpassing 1,000 yards in receiving.
In Kiffin’s three years as recruiting coordinator at USC, the Trojans had the No. 1 ranked recruiting class in college football every year. The Trojans finished first in the Pac-10 in passing efficiency by averaging 142.8 passer rating, produced two, 1,000-yard receivers – Dwayne Jarrett (1,105) and Steve Smith (1,083) – and a 3,000-yard passer John David Booty, with 3,347 yards. The team produced top 20 statistics in most NCAA offensive categories and concluded with a 32–18 win over the then #3 ranked team the University of Michigan in the Rose Bowl.
Outside of his personality and the stent at Tennessee, we could do a lot worse than Lane Kiffin as offensive coordinator..
If not Lane Kiffin then who?
Other names rumored to be possible options: (in no particular order)
Mike Groh- former GA at Bama and current wide receivers coach with the Chicago Bears.
Rick Neuheisel- Former head coach at Colorado, Washington, and UCLA and OC for the Baltimore Ravens.
Billy Napier- Current Alabama wide receivers coach. Served as Jim McElwain's assistant and QB coach at Colorado State.
Phillip Montgomery (just for Jtad)- Offensive Coordinator at Baylor.
Chad Morris- OC at Clemson
And lastly, according Cecil Hurt, Leonard Fournette's mom.
Jtadpole has a poll up asking who will be Bama's next OC. Please go vote for your favorite option.
In the mean time, let the speculation begin!