Brian Daboll is returning to his coaching roots. The Patriots tight ends coach has agreed to become the offensive coordinator for the University of Alabama, a source confirmed. The news was first reported Friday night on Twitter by ESPN's Chris Low.
Nick Saban has turned to NFL coaching veteran Brian Daboll to be Alabama's new offensive coordinator, sources tell ESPN.— Chris Low (@ClowESPN) February 18, 2017
Daboll, 41, was a graduate coaching assistant for Alabama head coach Nick Saban in 1998-99 when Saban was at Michigan State. With Saban's recommendation, Daboll came to New England in 2000 as a defensive coaching assistant.
In 2002, he became the Patriots wide receivers coach. Daboll went to the Jets with Eric Mangini to coach quarterbacks and spent 2008 overseeing Brett Favre's season in New York. He then spent two years as Browns offensive coordinator, and one each as OC for the Chiefs and Dolphins before latching back on with the Patriots.
Daboll's long been seen as the OC-in-waiting behind Josh McDaniels. But McDaniels' caution in making sure a return to head coaching is a perfect fit has meant that Daboll can't really advance with the Patriots.
McDaniels can't be blamed for being cautious; Daboll can't be blamed for getting itchy. The two men have a close relationship that dates back to when they both worked for Saban in the late '90s. Alabama - a high-profile job that can only help Daboll's resume after spending the past three seasons as tight ends coach - is a smart move for his career.
Where do the Patriots turn for Daboll's replacement?
As ESPN's Mike Reiss pointed out, Bill Belichick likes to promote from within and coaching assistants Nick Caley, Mike Pellegrino and Cole Popovich could be in line or Jerry Schuplinsk, assistant quarterbacks coach who's come in for specific praise from Belichick in his brief time in New England, could get a look.