Is Nick Saban Looking Internally For His Next Offensive Coordinator For Alabama?

He’s done it before with Michael Locksley and it’s been successful, but is Nick Saban looking internally for Alabama’s next offensive coordinator with Bill O’Brien gone?

Saban doesn’t have an on-field coach with offensive play-calling experience, but he does have two analysts on staff who do.

He could rise from within if you look at Derek Dooley, Zach Mettenberger, Will Lawing and Nick Cochran. Alex Mortensen, son of ESPN analyst Chris Mortensen, served as an offensive analyst from 2019 to 2022. He’s now the offensive coordinator at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), but could Saban bring him back?

If he chooses to go the analyst route, below is a breakdown of Saban’s internal options on offense.

Derek Dooley

Derek Dooley is the elder statesman of offensive analysts on Saban’s staff.

The 54-year-old was on staff with Saban at Louisiana State University from 2000 to 2004 as a tight ends coach, running backs coach and assistant head coach. Dooley helped Saban win a BCS National Championship with the Tigers in 2003. He was a head coach at Louisiana Tech and Tennessee while serving as an offensive coordinator at Missouri in 2018 and 2019. Dooley has also coached in the National Football League with the Dallas Cowboys (2013-17) and New York Giants (2021), working primarily with wide receivers and tight ends. He coached Missouri to 36.6 points per game in 2018 and helped Drew Lock to nearly 3,500 passing yards (3,498).

Lock had a total of 34 touchdowns. He currently plays for the Seattle Seahawks in the NFL.

Dooley coached Larry Rountree III in 2018 for 1,216 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns while building an offense that allowed five receivers to record more than 20 catches. College football is a fast game offensively, but is Dooley the one to provide entertainment and balance?

He has the most experience.

Will Lawing

Will Lawing would not have the best chance for Alabama’s position as offensive coordinator; However, the 37-year-old already has experience.

He served as the passing game coordinator (2010) and offensive coordinator (2011-12) for Juniata College, a private school in Pennsylvania. Lawing brought his talent to Penn State in 2013 as a graduate assistant before succeeding Bill O’Brien to the Houston Texans. He was defensive quality control coach from 2014-2016, offensive assistant from 2017-2018, and tight ends coach from 2019-2020. Lawing followed O’Brien to Alabama in 2021, coming as an offensive analyst.

He remains with The Tide despite O’Brien’s decision to return to the NFL.

Alexander Mortensen

Alabama lost Alex Mortensen to UAB, but he would be the ideal off-field analyst for Nick Saban’s offensive coordinator.

Mortensen was a quarterback in college for Arkansas and Samford.

He made the practice squad for the Tennessee Titans but started his coaching career early. Mortensen started out as the passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the New Mexico Highlands from 2012-13.

After a season with the St. Louis Rams, he joined Alabama in 2014 as a graduate assistant.

Mortensen watched Saban’s trial for five years (2014-18) and witnessed four Southeastern Conference Championships (2014-16, 2018) and two College Football Playoff National Championships in 2015 and 2017. He served as the wide receivers coach for the Birmingham Iron (Alliance of America Football League) in 2019 before returning to Tuscaloosa as an analyst. Mortensen helped Tua Tagovailoa, Mac Jones and Bryce Young perform at their best behind the scenes. He led Tagovailoa to the all-time Crimson Tide career leader for passing touchdowns (87) and made him a first-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Mortensen assisted Jones in setting a year-old school record for passing yards (4,500) and touchdown passes (41) in 2020.

He mentored Jones as a Heisman finalist, Consensus All-American, All-SEC first-team pick, and a first-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Young became Alabama’s first quarterback to win the Heisman Memorial Trophy with Mortensen’s help. He set the Crimson Tide’s single-season records for passing yards (4,872), touchdown passes (47), and point total (50) in 2021.

Mortensen helped Blake Sims, Jacob Coker, Jalen Hurts, Tagovailoa, Jones and Young succeed.

If Saban could get Mortensen back it would be huge for the Tide.

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