Brian Daboll’s NFL background means his rookie season as Alabama’s offensive coordinator made for lots of firsts. His last college coaching job was in 1998 and 1999 as a graduate assistant at Michigan State.
“This is the first time I’ve had about a month here (between games),” Daboll said. “It’s a little different for me coming from the National Football League where you only have a couple weeks if you’re one seed or two seed.”
The precise layoff for Alabama from the Iron Bowl to the Sugar Bowl is 37 days spanning five full weeks. That’s as long as the NFL’s entire postseason, from the wild card round through the Super Bowl.
There were obvious differences during his first year in college, too. Recruiting was a new part of his job description. He got some help from his quarterback in that department.
“I help him out from time to time,” sophomore Jalen Hurts said. “Just how to talk to a young guy, relate to him and see how he’s doing.”
Daboll said he also keeps Alabama’s compliance department on speed dial to make sure he stays within NCAA rules. It’s a team effort.
The list of adjustments to be made goes on and on. One reporter asked Daboll about the difference in maturity level of Alabama’s players, in their teens and early 20s, compared with professionals.
“That’s a great question. You know, I had Gronk,” he said, referencing Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski.
The transition as a whole has gone well. Hurts and other Alabama players said they like the stability Daboll has brought. The offensive coordinator talked about building rapport with current players to help establish a relationship.
“I’ve really enjoyed being around these guys,” he said. “I’ve enjoyed their work ethic. Younger guys are a little different than 27 or 40 you deal with. These guys have been really good in everything we’ve asked them to do.”
Reach Ben Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org or 205-722-0196.