Alabama’s Nick Saban targeting ex-NFL coach Doug Marrone for staff, hopes to finalize deal soon


Alabama coach Nick Saban has targeted former Jacksonville Jaguars and Buffalo Bills head coach Doug Marrone to be the Crimson Tide’s new offensive line coach, and hopes to finalize a deal with Marrone soon, sources told ESPN.

Marrone is set to join former Houston Texans head coach Bill O’Brien, who replaced Steve Sarkisian as Alabama’s offensive coordinator. Marrone and O’Brien share a close relationship going back to their days working together on the Georgia Tech staff in the late 1990s.

Marrone was fired earlier this month after six seasons with the Jaguars, the last four as head coach. Marrone took the Jaguars to the AFC Championship Game in his first full season as head coach in 2017, but they never won more than six games in a season after that.

Marrone was 15-17 in two seasons as the Bills’ head coach from 2013-14. He was 9-7 in his final season in Buffalo.

Marrone also has collegiate head-coaching experience and rebuilt Syracuse’s program. The Orange won eight games two different times during Marrone’s four-year tenure from 2009-12, and captured a share of the Big East conference championship in 2012. When Marrone arrived in Syracuse, the Orange had gone seven straight years without a winning season.

This won’t be Marrone’s first stint in the SEC. He coached at Georgia in 2000 under Jim Donnan, and at Tennessee in 2001 under Phillip Fulmer.

Counting Saban, the Crimson Tide will have three former NFL head coaches on their staff in 2021. Saban was the Miami Dolphins‘ head coach before taking the Alabama job in 2007.

Saban, coming off his sixth national championship at Alabama, still has two other jobs to fill on his staff. Running backs coach Charles Huff left to take the Marshall head-coaching job, and special teams coordinator/tight ends coach Jeff Banks left to go with Sarkisian to Texas.

Marrone replaces Kyle Flood as Alabama’s offensive line coach. Flood also went with Sarkisian to be Texas’ offensive coordinator/offensive line coach.

In addition, Charlie Strong is leaving Alabama’s staff as a defensive analyst to join Urban Meyer’s full-time staff with the Jaguars as assistant head coach and linebackers coach. Strong was previously the head coach at Texas, Louisville and South Florida.



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