Roll Tide Rumor Mill; What’s the Fate of Bill O’Brien and Pete Golding?
The college football season comes to a close on Monday night as Georgia and TCU will battle in Los Angeles for the national championship. The conclusion of the season, in conjunction with the conclusion of the NFL regular season, means most coaches are now free to make moves into new roles and positions.
The Alabama Crimson Tide missed the playoffs for just the second time in the CFP-era in 2022 and therefore the speculation has been rampant that Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban is planning changes to his coaching staff.
We already know that safeties coach Charles Kelly and special assistant Drew Svoboda have moved into new positions, Kelly as defensive coordinator at Colorado and Svoboda as special teams coordinator at North Texas.
Saban will need to replace Kelly as an on-field coach but has plenty of options in the analyst room and can always hire a quality coach from another organization. Who else might the Goat have to replace in the coming weeks?
Alabama defensive coordinator Pete Golding has been under the microscope since the moment he was promoted from inside linebackers coach in 2019. Golding has been an ace recruiter while in the role in Tuscaloosa but his defenses have left something to be desired, leading many to speculate that he will be on the chopping block at The Capstone.
Golding has been linked to two jobs heavily in the last few weeks, both with Saban disciples. The maligned defensive coach has been tied to Ole Miss with Lane Kiffin and Texas with Steve Sarkisian. Golding worked with Sarkisian but wasn't officially on staff with Kiffin, however both head coaches could use an ace recruiter on staff as they try to continue to grow their respective programs.
Alabama offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien has also been under the microscope, despite his offenses averaging 40-points per game over the last two years. Crimson Tide fans were upset at his refusal to run the football against Texas A&M in 2021 and his time management skills against Tennessee in 2022, causing many to wonder if he is the right man for the the job.
O'Brien came to Alabama after being fired as the Houston Texans head coach and many believed that he and Saban made a handshake agreement to stay together for two seasons. The second year is over and the Crimson Tide failed to meet its expectations for the second year in a row, will O'Brien be looking for his next opportunity now that the NFL has concluded its regular season?
The New England Patriots have missed the 2023 playoffs and spent all season using Matt Patricia and Joe Judge as co-offensive coordinators. While O'Brien said prior to the Sugar Bowl that he hasn't had any contact with the Patriots about its coordinator position, it's absurd to assume that the two sides are not thinking about one another. O'Brien spent five years with the Patriots, working his way into the offensive coordinator role before graduating into the head coaching position at Penn State University.
Who would Saban turn to if Alabama lets O'Brien walk out of the Mal Moore Athletic Complex?
The Tide has several options out there and could turn to fired college coach Scott Frost, to fired NFL head coach Kliff Kingsbury, to current TCU offensive coordinator Garrett Riley or even Arkansas offensive coordinator Kendal Briles.
It's a huge offseason already for the Crimson Tide as the program replaces quarterback Bryce Young and edge rusher Will Anderson. While many Bama fans maybe nervous with the changes ahead, as long as Saban is in charge you can count on him to make the best choices for the program.