Alabama Team News

Can Brian Daboll win without Bill Belichick, Tom Brady? Alabama fans better hope so


Alabama’s reported hiring of Brian Daboll as offensive coordinator leaves at least as many questions as answers for Crimson Tide fans.

Daboll comes from the New England Patriots, where he served as tight ends coach for the past three seasons. He’s been an NFL assistant since 2000.

While only 42, this will be Daboll’s fourth stint as an offensive coordinator and his first at the college level. He served as a graduate assistant for a few years on Nick Saban’s Michigan State staff in the late 1990s. That was his last college job until now.

Daboll will team with co-coordinator Mike Locksley to install an offense as soon as possible in advance of Alabama spring practice.

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Saban surely hopes Daboll can find success outside of New England. Daboll is 18-46 as an NFL offensive coordinator (Cleveland 2009-10, Miami 2011 and Kansas City 2012). He was hired by former Belichick assistants in two of his three previous jobs running an offense, and his coordinator jobs always have appeared to be about who he knows, not necessarily what he knows. A common theme of Belichick assistants who go elsewhere is failure. Not having Tom Brady around has a way of making these coaches look average at best.

The list of failures when out from under the Belichick-Brady umbrella: Eric Mangini, Romeo Crennel, Josh McDaniels and Charlie Weis. Bill O’Brien is the exception, and there was talk he was going to be fired by the Houston Texans this past season.

I am not saying Daboll will be a failure at Alabama because all he has to do in Tuscaloosa, quite honestly, is stay out of the way and remember to just run the football.

But his record as an offensive coordinator is abysmal and he has absolutely zero relationships on the recruiting trail. He does have Super Bowl rings he can show off and stories to share of coaching Randy Moss, but what does he bring to the table in Tuscaloosa? Besides a previous relationship with Saban and Belichick, I am still trying to figure that out.

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Without question, Alabama’s offensive staff has taken a step back with the departures of Mario Cristobal and Billy Napier and the subsequent hires. When is the last time Locksley or Daboll called plays for a team that had a winning record? Answer: The 7-5 Maryland Terrapins in 2014, with Locksley. At least Locksley is considered a great recruiter.

On the surface, this hire leaves a lot to be desired.

(You can follow Chris Reier on Twitter @seeryer)

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