Nick Saban is zeroing in on Notre Dame offensive coordinator Tommy Rees as the top target to fill the same roll at Alabama, according to multiple reports. Rees is reportedly expected to be in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, on Thursday.
Saban is seeking a new play-caller after Bill O’Brien left the program this offseason for the same job with the New England Patriots, though O’Brien was not expected to be retained either way. Saban is seeking a fifth offensive coordinator since Lane Kiffin left to be the FAU coach prior to the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship.
At age 30, Rees would be Saban’s youngest coordinator since Will Muschamp held that position for LSU in 2002. Rees was Notre Dame’s quarterbacks coach 2017-19 under former coach Brian Kelly and added the offensive coordinator role in 2020. A Notre Dame quarterback from 2010-13, he has never held a full-time assistant coaching role at another program but was an offensive staffer for the San Diego Chargers in 2016.
The Fighting Irish offense thrived under Rees prior to a 2022 season that was hampered by a Week 2 injury to starting quarterback Tyler Buchner. In the other two years under Rees, the Irish averaged at least six yards per play. This past year, Rees oversaw an offensive shift from Buchner to Drew Pyne at quarterback while focusing on a ground-based approach.
The news that Rees is being targeted by Saban comes just two days after Washington offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb reportedly turned down the job to return to the Huskies. Grubb helped quarterback Michael Penix Jr. become the nation’s leading passer last season at 357 yards per game.