Daboll, who joined Alabama this year after spending the past four seasons as an assistant for the New England Patriots, is projected to bring a balanced passing attack with him to Tuscaloosa. Whether or not his offense ultimately includes the aforementioned jet sweep Alabama has relied on in recent years is yet to be seen. However, early indications suggest the first-year coordinator is putting together an offense Tide fans will be happy with.
“Brian Daboll has done a really, really good job as offensive coordinator,” Alabama head coach Nick Saban said during SEC Media Days. “The players have really responded to him well. He's got a great personality. I think he's exactly what we're looking for in terms of helping us redevelop a pro-style passing attack that would go with the athleticism with some of the spread offense that we've used with Jalen (Hurts) and our other quarterbacks, which helped us tremendously, I think.”
That sounds similar to what Alabama ran last season. Although, given that Alabama led the SEC with 38.8 points per game, a similar offensive attack is to be expected. Where Daboll appears most likely to contribute is taking the same offensive philosophy and expanding it, especially in the passing attack where the Tide averaged just 210.3 yards per game last season.
So far, it looks like he has done that. Alabama showed a vast improvement through the air this spring, passing for a combined 661 yards and five touchdowns during the A-Day scrimmage. That early success has translated into confidence among Tide players.
“I really think Coach Saban brought in one of the best guys for us,” Alabama receiver Calvin Ridley said. “It’s going to be a real good season for us on offense. We’re going to be a lot better.”
With reigning SEC Offensive Player of the Year Jalen Hurts heading into his sophomore season, many project Daboll to open up the offense to include more downfield passes. Hurts, who completed 16 of 25 passes for 301 yards and two touchdowns with an interception during A-Day, has drawn plenty of praise for his maturity as a passer this season. The Channelview, Texas native passed for 2,780 yards and 23 touchdowns with nine interceptions last season.
“You know, offensively, this is the first time that we've had a returning starter at quarterback since 2013, which creates the opportunity for that guy to develop in the things that he needs to do better,” Saban said. “Jalen has done a good job in the offseason of becoming a better passer, understanding the passing game better.”
Of course, any discussion of Alabama’s offense has to include the running game. The Tide return three starters — Damien Harris, Bo Scarbrough and Josh Jacobs — from a running attack that finished No. 12 in the nation last season with 245 yards per game on the ground. Alabama will also see the return of B.J. Emmons as well as the emergence of two talented freshmen in Najee Harris and Brian Robinson.
With six backs who could seemingly start at most programs across the nation, Daboll’s only worry might be finding enough carries to go around.
“There’s one ball, so you have to come out there and compete every day,” Bozeman said. “Whoever deserves to be out there is going to be out there. It doesn’t matter about your background, it doesn’t matter about anything else except how you compete.”
Returning most of the skill players from an offense that averaged 455.3 yards per game last season, it’s conceivable to think this could be the best offense Alabama has put together since Saban arrived in 2007. Now it’s up to Daboll to put together a multifaceted attack that lives up to its potential.
“Our offense has come out clicking,” Bozeman said. “It’s not about just the quarterback, or just the running back, or just the line. It’s about the whole unit. It’s about the whole machine. If one part isn’t running right, the whole thing’s not running. It’s not just one aspect.”
Read more at BamaInsider.com.