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Jumbo Package: Update on Bill O’Brien and the New England Patriots

Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

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Happy Friday, everyone. The Gym Tide open the SEC season tonight in Fayetteville, available on SEC Network at 7:30 CT. Freshman Gabby Gladieux made quite the impression in her Alabama debut, competing in three events including a 9.9 in the floor exercise.

Gary Parrish over at CBS Sports is bullish on Tide hoops, as he should be.

As I noted on Wednesday night’s Inside College Basketball on CBS Sports Network, Alabama checks every box as a legitimate national championship contender. The Crimson Tide have a great coach, talented guards and an undeniable star and future NBA Draft lottery pick in Brandon Miller. They’re good offensively, even better defensively and proven winners of big games. Taking all of this into account, I’ve moved Alabama to No. 4 in Thursday morning’s updated CBS Sports Top 25 And 1 daily college basketball rankings.

Alabama hosts a struggling LSU team tomorrow at 3pm. We will, of course, have full coverage later.

In football news, the New England Patriots made kind of a weird announcement that they would be interviewing OC candidates next week, probably to appease a fanbase that is in mutiny over the Matt Patricia/Joe Judge situation. One name, of course, continues to come up.

Bill O’Brien has been linked to a New England return, but Curran tweets the Pats and the current Alabama OC have not been in contact yet. That said, Breer adds O’Brien likely “would love” to return to his home state to aid the Patriots. O’Brien was on Belichick’s staff from 2007-11, finishing that stay as the team’s offensive coordinator during Josh McDaniels‘ three years away. Although O’Brien was not on board as the Crimson Tide’s OC until the 2021 season, Breer mentions Mac Jones helped bring the incoming play-caller up to speed on the program’s offense. Robert and Jonathan Kraft are O’Brien fans as well, per Breer.

Emphasis mine, in case anyone wonders whose offense it really is or how it will go with the next guy once O’Brien leaves. My impression is that Nick Saban doesn’t necessarily see major problems like some fans do with an offense that finished 9th in yards per play, 5th if you remove the Texas A&M game that Bryce Young missed, and 4th in points per game (3rd if you remove A&M) with a banged up QB against a top ten schedule. Saban voted this team 2nd in the nation on his coaches’ poll ballot, right where most advanced metrics placed them.

Based on everything we know about Nick and his hires through the years (remember that Adam Gase was the other prominent name mentioned when he hired O’Brien) I wouldn’t be expecting him to seek an offensive innovator. Not that there is all that much innovation in the college game anymore.

That last link has this quote from Aaron Suttles, and it’s spot on.

Aaron Suttles, Alabama beat writer: He doesn’t care about Hot Board lists or names bounded around on message boards.

He always keeps a mental list of candidates for jobs should they ever come open. Sometimes they’re guys he’s worked with, sometimes it is a guy who was recommended by someone he trusts.

Looking back, the public wasn’t overly thrilled with the Sarkisian hire, and that worked out better than anyone could have dreamed.

It’s possible that Saban shakes things up and goes with an up-and-comer, but I’ll believe it when I see it.

No matter, Alabama Twitter melted right on down with this news.

Clemson fired offensive coordinator Brandon Streeter, the school announced on Thursday, and will hire TCU offensive coordinator Garrett Riley, sources told ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg and Chris Low.

Streeter served just one season as the Tigers’ full-time playcaller, though he’d been with Clemson as an assistant coach since 2015, and he played quarterback at Clemson from 1995 to 1999.

Riley spent this past season at TCU as the Horned Frogs’ offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. He was named the Broyles Award winner as the top assistant coach in the nation.

Guess we will see if he can make Cade Klubnik look like a functional QB again. That Tennessee game was brutal.

Speaking of Tennessee, longtime Vols writer John Adams is pumping the critters full of hope that Alabama won’t have a QB.

The Tide have had a great run of quarterbacks - Jalen Hurts, Tua Tagovailoa, Mac Jones and Bryce Young. But who’s next?

That’s the big question.

Jalen Milroe proved himself as a runner but didn’t dazzle anyone with his passing when he stepped in for an injured young. Five-star recruit Ty Simpson also will compete for the job. And there’s always the possibility Alabama could add a late quarterback transfer.

We will see how it shakes out, but with all of the success that Alabama has had passing the football, it’s tough for me to believe that Saban will roll with a run first guy in Milroe who has been woefully inconsistent as a passer. While you never know about QBs until they play, I have been on record for a couple years as a Ty Simpson fan. I thought his high school highlights looked as good or better than Arch Manning’s, and speculated that he’s a primary reason why Arch didn’t come here. We shall see in the spring, and it will be intriguing.

Last, a member of Alabama’s outstanding team went 5th overall in the National Women’s Soccer League draft.

Congrats to her, even if it requires living in Portland.

That’s about it for today. Have a great weekend.

Roll Tide.