The biggest thing Nick Saban emphasized to new assistants as Alabama football opened spring practice

Teddy Couch
The Tuscaloosa News

There will be a lot of new faces for the Alabama football offense during the 2021 season. 

Not just on the field, but on the sideline as well

Of the five new coaches, four are on the offensive side of the ball. They all got to work Friday as the Crimson Tide opened spring practice. 

"It's been a transition a little bit and we've spent some time on offense to implement some new ideas as well as for the new coaches to learn the system that we had here before," Alabama coach Nick Saban said. "And try to improve on it."

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Bill O'Brien, who was the coach of the Houston Texans from 2014-20, is the new offensive coordinator. He's joined by Doug Marrone (offensive line), Robert Gillespie (running backs) and Jay Graham (tight ends/special teams). 

"(O'Brien's) had some really good success in what he's accomplished and what he's done," Saban said. "I think it's really difficult when you have somebody come in and try to learn our system. Which he's done a really good job of. To try to implement that system and tweak it to where we can fix it to make it better based on quality control that we did last year."

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What's the biggest thing Saban has emphasized to the new coaches?

"It's human nature to want to come in and make an impact and do something that's great," he said. "We just need you to do a good job of coaching our players. Getting them to play the best they can play. Getting the players to understand our system and what we do in a positive way."

Saban said there shouldn't be comparisons to last year's offense, a group that scored 48.5 points per game and averaged 541.6 yards. A lot of those skill guys are heading to the NFL Draft.

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"There are no expectations," he added. "... The main focus needs to be getting our players that we have to be the best offensive players they can be. We will all work together to try to do that. So far that's worked out really well."

New cornerbacks coach Jay Valai has inherited a group that returns Josh Jobe. Who will step up next to him remains to be seen.

"(Valai) is really smart and has learned quickly," Saban said. "He's added some things for us, which has made us better. We are really happy about that."

Reach Gadsden Times reporter Teddy Couch at or via Twitter, @Teddy_Couch.