With the news that offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier has left Alabama for the same job at Michigan, Alabama will now begin its search for a new offensive coordinator.
It remains to be seen which direction the Crimson Tide want to go on offense. Coach Nick Saban could opt again for another traditional, pro-style attack. He could, however, change things up a little bit.
Saban said this before the Auburn game about switching to a more hurry-up style:
We do it against each other a bit. Even though we don't choose to do it as a team that much, I think we are capable to do it, if we wanted or needed to. I really do think our team responded better against those types of teams this year than what we've done in the past. It has been our approach, how we practice, how our offense practices against us. All those things have helped. I think our offense could go out and do that same thing.”
With that in mind, here are five potential replacements for Nussmeier at Alabama.
If Saban wants to go with someone he’s more familiar with, Groh would be a great fit.
Alabama’s wide receivers coach during the 2011 and 2012 seasons, Groh knows what Saban expects from his offense and is very familiar with the system. He left Tuscaloosa to become a wide receivers coach in the NFL with the Chicago Bears.
Groh would also be a welcomed asset on the recruiting trail.
He was named 247Sports’ Recruiter of the Year in 2013, as he was instrumental in locking down players like A’Shawn Robinson, Dee Liner and Altee Tenpenny.
The former Alabama quarterback will be a target for the job, according to Andrew Gribble of al.com.
Kitchens has spent the last year working as a quarterbacks coach for the Arizona Cardinals after spending six years with the Cardinals as a tight ends coach. Kitchens threw for 4,667 yards and 30 touchdowns as the Crimson Tide’s starting quarterback from 1995-1997.
Kitchens spent the 2000 season as a graduate assistant under Saban at LSU, and he has served as running backs and tight ends coach at Mississippi State for a year each.
Clemson’s offensive coordinator is a rising star, and if Saban wants a change in philosophy, Morris is worth a look.
He helped develop Tajh Boyd into one of the premier passers in the country and led Clemson’s offense to top-10 finishes nationwide in yards per game for the last two years.
Morris would bring more of a spread and hurry-up look with him to Tuscaloosa and would bring fresh ideas to a team that has relied on largely the same system since Saban’s arrival in 2007.
Saban’s last two offensive coordinators have come from the West coast, and the Senior Bowl’s Phil Savage touted Neuheisel as someone to watch in the Tide’s search.
Neuheisel has made head coaching stops at Colorado, Washington and UCLA with a stint as the Baltimore Ravens quarterbacks coach, then offensive coordinator, in between.
The current Pac-12 Network studio analyst would bring a vast amount of experience at the college and pro levels with him to Tuscaloosa.
While it seems crazy, Saban is very high on the former Tennessee and USC head coach. He had Kiffin come in and evaluate his offense after a 34-28 season-ending loss to Auburn in the Iron Bowl.
“Lane is a really good offensive coach, and I’ve always had a tremendous amount of respect for him,” Saban said at the time. “Just to come in and brainstorm a little bit, just some professional ideas with our guys, I think, is a real positive thing.”
Kiffin was also a great recruiter in his stops at Tennessee and USC, and while he would bring some baggage with him to Tuscaloosa, he has proven himself to be an adept offensive mind.
All quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.