FOOTBALL

Alabama football OC Bill O'Brien interviews with New England Patriots | Report

Nick Kelly
The Tuscaloosa News

Alabama football offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien has interviewed with the New England Patriots for their offensive coordinator opening, according to a report from NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

Rapoport and others have reported O'Brien is a top candidate for the job.

O'Brien, a Massachusetts native, was New England's offensive coordinator more than a decade ago. He also served as a position coach in New England before that.

O'Brien's two-year contract with Alabama expires at the end of February. He has also served as Alabama's quarterbacks coach, working directly with Heisman-Trophy winner Bryce Young the past two seasons.

In O'Brien's first season as the play caller in Tuscaloosa in 2021, the Crimson Tide averaged 39.9 points, which ranked sixth among all FBS teams. Alabama earned 488.3 yards per game, which ranked eighth nationally. The Crimson Tide reached the College Football Playoff Championship, where it fell to Georgia.

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The offense struggled at times in 2022 to be consistent and create big plays, but it still managed to be a top-10 scoring offense. It finished the regular season tied for the No. 4 scoring offense in the country, averaging 40.8 points.

O'Brien reportedly was in contention for other jobs at the end of the 2021 season, but he stayed in Tuscaloosa for another season.

“I made a commitment to Coach Saban," O'Brien said at the beginning of 2022 preseason practices. "Those things come up relative to what your role is in different programs, where you’ve been. I’ve been doing this a long time and I’ve had various roles in coaching, so obviously, those things come up. But I made a commitment to Coach Saban. I love coaching here. The players, the coaching staff, it’s been – like I said in the opening statement here – it’s been a really good experience. I’ve learned a lot. I’m very appreciative of Coach for giving me this opportunity.”

Prior to his time in Houston, O'Brien coached Penn State. He was the first coach of the Nittany Lions after Joe Paterno. For his efforts in State College, O'Brien won Big Ten coach of the year, ESPN national coach of the year, and Paul "Bear" Bryant college coach of the year in 2012. He finished 8-4 that year, fresh off the fallout of the Jerry Sandusky scandal. No coach had more wins in his first year at Penn State than O'Brien. 

In the college ranks, he also made stops at Duke, Maryland, Georgia Tech and Brown, where he played in college. 

Nick Kelly covers Alabama football and men's basketball for The Tuscaloosa News/USA TODAY Network. Reach him via email: nkelly@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter: @_NickKelly.