The Atlanta Falcons announced Tuesday they hired Steve Sarkisian to be their new offensive coordinator, which leaves the Alabama Crimson Tide to search for Sarkisian's replacement.
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Daboll Linked to Crimson Tide
Thursday, Feb. 16
ESPN reported New England Patriots tight ends coach Brian Daboll has emerged as a "leading candidate" for the Crimson Tide offensive coordinator job.
Godsey Linked to OC Position
Wednesday, Feb. 8
247Sports reported former Houston Texans offensive coordinator George Godsey was expected to interview for the open job on Wednesday.
Kelly, Helfrich Among Names Linked to Vacancy
Tuesday, Feb. 7
Kelly is by far the most interesting of the three possibilities. Alabama fans are likely salivating at the prospect of the former Oregon head coach, who helped mold Marcus Mariota into an eventual Heisman Trophy winner, building an offense around Jalen Hurts.
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Free-agent offensive guard Geoff Schwartz, who played one season for Kelly, then the Ducks' offensive coordinator, shared his reaction to the idea:
Coaching Alabama's offense would be a way for Kelly to rebuild his reputation before moving on to greener pastures—in the same way that Lane Kiffin parlayed his success with the Crimson Tide into becoming head coach at Florida Atlantic.
The bigger questions are whether Kelly would be willing to work under Saban or if Saban would be willing to hire somebody with the personality and ego of Kelly. It's no secret the pairing of Kiffin and Saban thrived despite the general tension between the two. Saban and Kelly on the same staff would likely create similar issues.
After going through two coordinators in quick succession, Saban may prefer a candidate who views Alabama as less of a stepping stone and more as a long-term home.
In that sense, Helfrich and Godsey would work better for the Crimson Tide.
Godsey has been an assistant his entire coaching career, most recently serving as the Houston Texans offensive coordinator from 2015 to 2016.
Helfrich enjoyed early success at Oregon, but the last two years, during which the Ducks went 13-12, seemingly highlighted his limitations as a head coach. Helfrich was unable to reload on the recruiting trail, and the Ducks defense became one of the worst in the country. It's doubtful another school would jump at the chance to make Helfrich a head coach again—at least right away.
No matter whom Alabama selects, the Crimson Tide should have one of the best offenses in the country in 2017, with Hurts and the running back tandem of Damien Harris and Bo Scarbrough all returning for next year.