Greg McElroy explains why Alabama OC ‘is one of the biggest hires of Nick Saban’s career’

Alabama football coach Nick Saban has vacancies in both coordinator positions nearing the start of spring training in a few weeks. Former Crimson Tide quarterback Greg McElroy believes Saban’s pending decision on offense is critical to the program.

“This is, I think, one of the biggest hires of Nick Saban’s career, perhaps not to the same extent as the 2014 hiring of Lane Kiffin, which brought offense into the new era,” McElroy said on the Always College Football podcast this week. “But you’re thinking about what’s coming. Bama still has national championship aspirations every year. As long as Nick Saban is around, that’s not going to change, but where will they go? There were rumors of Jeff Lebby in the mix.

“There were rumors about Garrett Riley if he didn’t take Clemson, who might be involved in Tuscaloosa…however, what matters is if Nick Saban hires Jeff Lebby, for example, then Jeff Lebby’s offense doesn’t really resemble anything Alabama’s traditionally done. That Baylor system is everywhere, but that’s not who Bama was.

Saban kicked the former Tennessee coach’s hoops Jeremy Pruitt as the Crimson Tide’s potential next defense coordinator, according to a Monday report by CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd. Saban too formally interviewed Washington Play-caller Ryan Grub for the vacant position of offensive coordinator at Alabama this week, according to 247Sports subsidiary Dawgman.

Other rumored candidates for the Crimson Tide offense include several masterminds who prefer to go fast and stretch the field vertically, not necessarily what Alabama has done in the past under recent games Brian Daboll, Steve Sarkisian and Bill O’Brien has.

Whoever gets the job will inherit an offense that will replace 2021 Heisman winner Bryce Young with Jalen Milroe or Ty Simpson and return Jase McClellan to the backfield, who will take over RB1 rep with Jahmyr Gibbs in the NFL. There’s also a young core of wideouts itching for more opportunities, and veterans Ja’Corey Brooks and Kobe Prentice are among the options expected to be most impactful at this point.

On the other side of the ball Dodd reported that Alabama has not yet offered Pruitt the role of defense coordinator but has reached out to him about possible employment. The potential catch for Pruitt, however, concerns the The NCAA’s ongoing investigation into Tennessee after the volunteers received a notice last July about allegations arising from Pruitt’s tenure.

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Saban replaced Peter Goldingwho left earlier this month alongside O’Brien to become Ole Miss’ defense coordinator who took the Patriots’ play-caller spot last week. Grubb reportedly met with Alabama on Sunday and is a candidate for the position.