Not even 48 hours after Alabama won the national title, Tide offensive coordinator Brian Daboll was linked to multiple jobs in the NFL.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 10, 2018
His decision — whatever it is — likely will be met with mixed emotions.
Against Clemson, Daboll used his stable of running backs instead of just featuring Jalen Hurts, something that needed to happen with so much talent in the backfield. Daboll also showed a little flair, getting creative with a touchdown throw to defensive tackle Da’Ron Payne that featured both Payne and fellow defensive lineman Quinnen Williams in an offensive set.
What might have saved his job at Alabama was the performance of true freshman quarterback Tua Tagovailoa in the national title game.
The offense really came alive in the second half, when Tagovailoa was 14-of-24 for 166 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. Daboll also added a heavy dose of Najee Harris to the second-half mix; he basically had been invisible of late, getting just six carries (all against overmatched Mercer) in the preceding five games. Harris finished as the Tide’s leading rusher with 64 yards on six carries, none bigger than a 35-yard ramble to put Alabama in field-goal range and eventually cut Georgia’s lead to one score.
The decision to go to Tagovailoa may not have been Daboll’s, but he used the freshman and all of his tools as well as you could have wanted an offensive coordinator to do so. The added bonus of throwing Harris in is another positive. Not that Nick Saban has said otherwise, but the idea of Daboll coming back for a second season could be a good thing.
If the second half of the national championship game was any indication of how this season went, perhaps Daboll was handcuffed to Hurts and was forced to make do with what he had. If that’s the case, the ceiling for Alabama and Daboll could be a lot higher in the passing game.
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