The Alabama Crimson Tide have reportedly hired Washington offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier to replace Jim McElwain in the same position. McElwain left to become the head coach at Colorado State.
Nussmeier has been called a McElwain clone, and this is the second time in his career he has replaced him. When McElwain came to Alabama from Fresno State in 2008, Nussmeier was hired as the offensive coordinator in Fresno by Pat Hill. The list of candidates to replace McElwain included NFL coordinators Brian Schottenheimer and Dirk Koetter to go along with college offensive coordinators Brian Pease of Boise State and Pep Hamilton of Stanford.
Nussmeier spent the last three seasons as the offensive coordinator at Washington under Steve Sarkisian. The Huskies ranked 38th in the nation last year in total offense, and he will definitely have more talent to work with in Tuscaloosa. The only problem is, while Washington has had good offenses with him as the OC, Sarkisian is thought of to be an offensive guru. So, we don’t really know if Sarkisian was really running things or not.
Nussmeier reportedly wanted the chance to call his own plays at Alabama, something he didn’t do with the Huskies. Possibly the best thing about this hire is how much success Nussmeier has had working with quarterbacks. He was the St. Louis Rams QB’s coach during the 2006 and 2007 seasons, and he helped Marc Bulger become a pro bowl QB in 2006.
He was also instrumental in helping Jake Locker at Washington, and Locker went on to become a first round draft pick. Even after losing Locker, the Huskies offense was arguably better as Keith Price took over in 2011. Washington’s offense was pretty balanced this past season, averaging 154 yards on the ground and 255 yards through the air.
Nussmeier will reportedly make around $600,000 a year on the Alabama staff, but the move has not yet been made official. Multiple sources have reported that he will be the next Alabama offensive coordinator. He becomes the third offensive coordinator for Alabama under Nick Saban, following Jim McElwain who followed Major Applewhite.
I’m a big fan of this move mainly because his system is similar to McElwain’s. I had my frustrations with McElwain over the years, but the fact is Alabama won two National Championships over the last three years under that system. Also, Nussmeier is known as being good with QB’s, and that will work well with AJ McCarron heading into his junior season. His progression will be important for the Tide offense in 2012.
In other staffing news, Lance Thompson has returned to Tuscaloosa from Knoxville to replace Sal Sunseri as the team’s linebackers coach. Thompson is known as an excellent recruiter, and he was the main recruiter on Trent Richardson back in 2008. It was a surprise when he left Saban’s staff for Kiffin’s in Tennessee a few years ago, but it’s obviously nice to have him back at Alabama.
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