Alabama OC Bill O'Brien Tests Positive for COVID-19 Ahead of College Football Playoff

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVDecember 22, 2021

ATLANTA, GA  SEPTEMBER 04:  Alabama assistant coach Bill O'Brien prior to the start of the Chick-fil-A Kick-Off Game between the Miami Hurricanes and the Alabama Crimson Tide on September 4th, 2021 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA.  (Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The University of Alabama announced Wednesday two members of the football team's coaching staff—offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien and offensive line coach Doug Marrone—tested positive for COVID-19.

Both coaches are expected to return before the Crimson Tide face Cincinnati in the College Football Playoff semifinals in the Cotton Bowl on New Year's Eve:

Ross Dellenger @RossDellenger

<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Bama?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Bama</a> offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien and offensive line coach Doug Marrone tested positive for COVID-19, UA announces. <a href="https://t.co/PV5AEXrrF7">pic.twitter.com/PV5AEXrrF7</a>

O'Brien joined the Bama coaching staff in January to replace Steve Sarkisian, who left Tuscaloosa to take over as head coach at Texas.

The 52-year-old Massachusetts native spent the previous nine years as a head coach, first at Penn State (2012-13) and then with the NFL's Houston Texans (2014-20).

His high-powered Tide attack is ranked fourth in scoring offense (42.5 points per game) and sixth in total offense (495.5 yards per game).

Marrone also joined the Alabama staff in January to coach the offensive line, a role he'd filled numerous times at the college and NFL levels before becoming a head coach in 2009.

His head coaching stints included time at Syracuse (2009-12) along with stops leading the Buffalo Bills (2013-14) and Jacksonville Jaguars (2017-20).

The Crimson Tide almost always feature one of the nation's top line groups and this year is no different, led by offensive tackle Evan Neal, a potential top-five pick in the 2022 NFL draft.

Alabama enters the College Football Playoff as the top seed after beating previously undefeated Georgia in the SEC Championship Game.

The winner of the Cotton Bowl will face either Michigan or Georgia—who will face off in the Orange Bowl—in the National Championship Game on Jan. 10.