Offensive coordinator discussion/odds...

JessN

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I was thinking about making this an actual article with some research on who the supposed candidates for the OC opening are, but we've come to learn under Saban that assistant coach hires are kept almost completely under wraps until the last minute. There is far more "inside info" to be gleaned during an actual head coaching search than at the assistant level.

Having said that, there have been a few names kicked around recently in articles on other sites and I wanted to give kind of a brief overview of those, what to expect if any of them were hired and what I think the odds would be if I was trying to handicap it.

Keep in mind that Saban tends to prioritize playcallers over pure QB position coaches here. It could work out that Alabama gets one of each, with the OC carrying a different position tag than QB. Also, I think we're looking for some stability this time out.

Dan Enos, OC, Arkansas: Has a restrictive non-compete clause in his contract that is absolutely no impediment whatsoever as long as the money's right. I-form/pro-style guy. He's gotten a ton of production out of a very average roster the last couple of years, and given he gave up a head coaching job he was in no danger of losing in order to step back to a coordinator's position, one has to think he's self-evaluated and found himself happier when not running a program. Meaning, the stability angle plays in his favor. This one basically comes down to whether you think Alabama would buy out the non-compete clause and then pay him like a top OC. I just think it's a little messy to navigate and for that reason Enos is down my board. 50-1.

George Godsey, unemployed: Most recently OC with the Houston Texans. I remember when we were recruiting him as a QB/TE back during the DuBose era. He's probably the "safe" pick if Alabama goes away from the staff and is either going to interview for the job or has already done so. He'd readily come here if asked. Knows Brent Key and coached under Bill Belichick in New England, so the offense would probably not change much with him. I expect the next coach to make at least a cursory move back to the power-running game and that would confirm what Godsey likes to do. Don't think stability is an issue here. Opening at 6-1 but he may very well be the favorite.

Mike Groh, WR coach, Philadelphia Eagles: Groh didn't get a completely clean breakaway from Alabama in 2013 and there are some feathers that would have to get unruffled, but I expect professionals to be professional and it shouldn't be a deal-killer. Of greater concern is that Groh's last tenure as an OC was borderline disaster working for his dad at UVA. Granted, he was young and it's hard to tell Dad he's wrong but ideally he would have moved to another OC job by now. Also of concern is whether he can coach QBs. Call it 12-1.

Charlie Weis, unemployed: He's served as an analyst here and has a good relationship with Saban, but post-Notre Dame he's had a checkered resume and seemed to have lost his edge as a playcaller. Great QB guy, though. 20-1.

Mark Helfrich, unemployed: Bombed as head coach at Oregon. Biggest issue here is people mistakenly think he was some kind of playcalling guru when he actually has very little experience doing that. Chip Kelly called the plays at Oregon, not Helfrich. May be the best pure QB coach on this list but that Oregon stint was disastrous. First sign of success, he's gone again, so there's that to consider. He's also a pure spread guy. 10-1.

Chip Kelly, unemployed: And speaking of Chip Kelly, here he is. This is a one-year solution most likely and a two-year solution at best, and he doesn't have the personnel he likes. When he went to the Eagles, the players up there all but laughed in his face over his ideas of how to build a roster (i.e., size/speed combos). There's no opportunity for him to build a roster at Alabama and Saban wouldn't yield that discretion even if the timeline allowed it. Genius playcaller, though. Has never coached QBs and actually started his coaching career on defense. He was an OL coach prior to getting the HC job at Oregon. I just can't make him the prohibitive favorite even though he has the strongest resume of anyone on this list by a landslide. 8-1.

Freddie Kitchens, RB coach, Arizona Cardinals: Has never been a coordinator and just got moved off coaching QBs in Arizona. Considered a very good RB coach but Alabama already has arguably the best in the nation there. Obviously this is a heartstrings choice and if not for his UA degree, no one would be talking about him. I don't think this is the right opening to get him onto the staff. Would likely favor an I-based pro-style attack. 30-1.

Billy Napier, OC, Arizona State: If Sarkisian had left about 10 days sooner, I think this would have been Alabama's next OC. Hard to justify leaving and coming back so soon, though. At least he'd be doing it to serial job-jumper Todd Graham. Two other things to chew on about Napier: He only coached QBs for 2 years, and those were the same 2 years at Clemson when he was exposed as being not ready for the responsibility of being a coordinator. This one would take a leap of faith from Saban that Napier is ready this time around, and honestly the job may be a bit big for him at the moment. The players want him back. Offense wouldn't change much from what Alabama currently runs. I'll call him 6-1 along with Godsey as the co-leader in the clubhouse.

Mike Locksley, offensive assistant, Alabama: Right behind Napier and Godsey is Locksley, who has coached both QBs and TEs in the past and had two unremarkable stints as OC with Maryland and Illinois. He was hired as a recruiter first at Alabama, coach second. Hard for guys like that to make a transition to the coordinator level and he's probably not ready for this job still, but he's the only guy on the current field staff that is going to be considered. Probably would favor a split-back look or pro spread, as he has connections to Larry Fedora by way of Ron Zook. 7-1.

Joe Pendry, support/semi-retired, Alabama: This would be a comfort pick and very short-term but Pendry became the de facto offensive coordinator during the 2007 year when the relationship between Major Applewhite and senior staff broke down. Biggest impediment is that Pendry would have to coach a position group other than OL while doing the job. I think this is a longshot but it's not impossible and the longer the opening goes, the more likely this move would be. 70-1.

Tee Martin, OC/WR, USC: Did a nice job the second half of the year and has drawn praise for his playcalling ideas. Hasn't coached quarterbacks since a one-year stint at New Mexico in 2009. Has only been a coordinator for a year and his wife has deep West Coast ties. Starting to sound like other former USC assistants Alabama has pursued, so there's something to work around. The lack of a track record probably kills this before the family has a chance to. 30-1.
 
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JDCrimson

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Neither Chip Kelly or Helfrich play physical offensive schemes. So I don't understand the potential interest in playing that way with physical talent already on hand.

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81usaf92

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Neither Chip Kelly or Helfrich play physical offensive schemes. So I don't understand the potential interest in playing that way with physical talent already on hand.

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Name 1 Oregon player outside of Blount, long, and Mariota doing decently well in the NFL. I think the misconception is that Helfrich and Kelly purposely designed the offense like they did and talent was no issue. Oregon doesn't have nearly the level of recruits on offense that Alabama has. Had Kelly had one Alabama offense in the last 10 years then he would've had atleast one title barring a defensive collapse. Think of baseball saber metrics and see who it benefits more between a small market team like the A's and a big market team like the Bosox. Same thing with Oregon and Alabama. Kelly or Helfrich coming here would be more like a super physical Oregon/ Mac hybrid. Point is don't expect the fastball offense.
 

gtowntide

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I would cast my vote for Enos. That guy has worked wonders with those Allen brothers and with our talent should do well. I just don't think Kelly fits. My second choice would be Godsey but Enos would be the guy. Now I'll just sit here and wait on CNS to call and ask me my opinion!
 

DrollTide

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Thanks Jess. It looks like your odds favor the field. Would you casually scribble down a few other names with no analysis that did not quite make your list?
 

B1GTide

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With the players that you have on your roster, I think that Enos would be a home run. Great developer of QBs and has a down hill running philosophy that matches perfectly with the guys that you have been recruiting. I wouldn't want either Oregon guy since every one of their teams struggled against physical defenses, which you face every week in the SEC.

If Enos isn't the guy, I hope that it is Napier. Godsey looks interesting, but I just don't know enough about him.
 

RollTide1224

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With the players that you have on your roster, I think that Enos would be a home run. Great developer of QBs and has a down hill running philosophy that matches perfectly with the guys that you have been recruiting. I wouldn't want either Oregon guy since every one of their teams struggled against physical defenses, which you face every week in the SEC.

If Enos isn't the guy, I hope that it is Napier. Godsey looks interesting, but I just don't know enough about him.
I agree, I've watched several Arkansas games since he has been there and like his style. Definitely would have used OJ better than we ever did.
 

DC Tide

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Most information-filled, best analysis of the current OC situation that I have seen anywhere. By far. Thank you.
 

Tideflyer

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With the players that you have on your roster, I think that Enos would be a home run. Great developer of QBs and has a down hill running philosophy that matches perfectly with the guys that you have been recruiting. I wouldn't want either Oregon guy since every one of their teams struggled against physical defenses, which you face every week in the SEC.

If Enos isn't the guy, I hope that it is Napier. Godsey looks interesting, but I just don't know enough about him.
I`m kinda` in B1G`s camp on this. Just don`t see enough of the physical, take charge approach coming from Kelly or Helfrich, plus was really pretty impressed with what Enos was doing at Arkansas. Think we would get a good blend with him.
 

CrimsonEyeshade

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I`m kinda` in B1G`s camp on this. Just don`t see enough of the physical, take charge approach coming from Kelly or Helfrich, plus was really pretty impressed with what Enos was doing at Arkansas. Think we would get a good blend with him.
I have one foot in this boat, too. It's interesting, though, that CNS reportedly went more toward the read option because it gave us a chance to practice against what every other school outside of LSU runs. If that's the case, are we bound to run some form of the offense out of concern for the defense?
 

JDCrimson

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Our calling card is building NFL ready players and we should strive to maintain that. The transition for spread based QBs to NFL is much harder with mixed results.

To me, our ideal QB is a Coker type player. He had a big arm and pretty good mobility for a guy his size. Another year as a starter for him in our system we would have won the NC this year and he would likely have been drafted in the top 3 rounds. I think this what we need to maintain as a sweet spot for our offense.

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Bamabuzzard

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With the talent and depth of running backs we have I would certainly hate to not take full advantage of it while they are here. I expressed it in another thread. But I would like to keep some of the spread/uptempo concepts while "Freshwater" was here but move the dial back more toward a pro style offense. We've got a quarterback who is mobile and can scramble a defense's eye balls out. Those attributes don't disappear in a pro style system. He can still be just as mobile and scramble just as much. The Arkansas OC would be my first choice of the ones on the list. I've watched him do a more than admirable job with what he had to work with at Arkansas. I can only imagine what he could do if given the talent currently on the Bama roster.
 

Tideflyer

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Our calling card is building NFL ready players and we should strive to maintain that. The transition for spread based QBs to NFL is much harder with mixed results.

To me, our ideal QB is a Coker type player. He had a big arm and pretty good mobility for a guy his size. Another year as a starter for him in our system we would have won the NC this year and he would likely have been drafted in the top 3 rounds. I think this what we need to maintain as a sweet spot for our offense.

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Interesting comment. I wanted to ask the board if others felt that way but didn`t for fear of being branded as anti-Jalen which I absolutely am not. For me personally, there`s little doubt that we would have won that game with Jake.
 

B1GTide

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Interesting comment. I wanted to ask the board if others felt that way but didn`t for fear of being branded as anti-Jalen which I absolutely am not. For me personally, there`s little doubt that we would have won that game with Jake.
Yes, with the best receiving corps in college football, your offense would have been insanely good with Coker. You would have smoked everyone on your schedule, including Clemson. Same would apply to having McCarron as your QB last year. But it does no good to wish for past greats to return to the field.
 

WPS

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I don't think the money is the problem with Enos' non-compete, it's just the long legal process you'd have to go through to get it waived. I think that's what scared Kirby Smart off last offseason because he didn't want to mess with it.

Enos was fantastic in 2015 but faded a little towards the end of this past year. Of course our OL being so bad didn't do him any favors. I would be interested to see if he would change the offense up any with Hurts since the Allens are pass-first QBs. Probably would be similar to what he did with Cooper Rush at CMU.
 

tide96

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Thanks Jess. It looks like your odds favor the field. Would you casually scribble down a few other names with no analysis that did not quite make your list?
Favors the field? Based on his odds, the field is about 14-1.
 

Major42fan

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But it does no good to wish for past greats to return to the field.
If that were the case, I would go with for Joe Willy or Snake! I agree we would have won with either Coker or AJ. Another thought would be to ponder if Hurst would have won with AJ's offensive line?
 

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