Just 13 days after winning his fifth super bowl for the New England Patriots, Brian Daboll made the jump to Alabama. He took over only six days after Steve Sarkisian, now coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons, left after coaching just one game at Alabama.
Daboll spent 17 years in the NFL with five different teams, including two different stints with the Patriots.
But all of that is history now. Daboll takes over an Alabama offense that led the SEC in total yards (6,829) and rushing yards (3,675) last year while finishing ranked fifth in the conference in passing yards (3,154). He also works with Jalen Hurts, who was the SEC Offensive Player of the Year.
“I just know that he’s a guy that loves the game,” Daboll said. “He loves learning about the game, and that’s all you can ask of these young players, that they come in, commit to working hard, do the things that you ask them to do. They try to improve every day, and take it one day at a time. Don’t look too far behind you, don’t look way far ahead. Can we learn from prior experiences? Sure. And you’d be foolish not to. But really our focus every day is how do we handle this day to be as good as we can be.”
One of Alabama’s weakness last year was the inconsistency in the passing game, especially down field. Daboll feels the best way to improve is by constantly working on the fundamentals.
“Our goal, our mantra really, is to improve every single day with their fundamentals,” Daboll said. “It doesn’t matter what play you call, your scheme, it doesn’t really matter until you really perfect your fundamentals. At the end of the day, when it’s crunch time, the team that plays with good fundamentals usually has the best chance to win.”
Daboll’s plan for the offense is to keep what Alabama did well last year and add to it.
“You try to be aggressive as an offensive guy, you try to take away the strengths of the defense and really the strengths of your offensive, you want to try to expose the defense with,” Daboll said on his coaching philosophy.
The biggest difference from last year’s offense will be how the tight ends and running backs are used.
Head coach Nick Saban preached all summer that tight ends are going to be used more systematically, which works perfectly with what Daboll is used to from his time in New England. While in New England he coached players like Rob Gronkowski (four pro bowls), Martellus Bennett (701 yards and seven touchdowns last year) and Scott Chandler (23 catches for 259 yards and four touchdowns in 2015).
“Always, our first priority is going to be blocking for the running backs and our great running game,” tight end Hale Hentges said. “We definitely have some more opportunities in the passing game. I think you guys have seen that. It’s up to us to make the most of that and really capitalize on that because they’re calling our number a little bit more this year.”
The Alabama back field is stacked with five running backs on roster, all of whom will most likely see playing time this year. Damien Harris and Bo Scarbrough return as the two leading rushers with 1,852-yards (Scarbrough finished with 812 yards while Harris finished with 1,040). Josh Jacobs ran for 567 yards on 85 attempts in his freshman year. Highly anticipated freshmen Najee Harris and Brian Robinson are also on the roster and will see playing time.
“Running back is a position that you can’t have too many of,” Daboll said. “You can find creative ways to try to use them, and everyone will have a role if they earn that role. So, there’s good players with all five of those guys, really. They’ve done a good job in the spring. All of the guys are smart, they work really hard, are well-coached, so we’ll find some roles that we can use them as we see fit.”
Source:: The Crimson White Sports