Alabama could bolster its staff with former Ole Miss OC Dan Werner

Dec 3, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban speaks to the press after the SEC Championship college football game against the Florida Gators at Georgia Dome. Alabama Crimson Tide won 54-16. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama is looking for a new offensive coordinator, but the play-caller may not be the only big addition to the Crimson Tide’s offensive staff. In what has become a signature Nick Saban move, a former offensive coordinator could reportedly join UA in an off-the-field role, and this one has SEC ties.

Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze made major changes after the 2016 season, in which the Rebels went 5-7, including letting go of Dan Werner, his co-offensive coordinator for the past five seasons in Oxford. Werner worked with Bo Wallace, Chad Kelly and Shea Patterson during his Ole Miss tenure, and could be a big help in developing Alabama’s young signal-callers.

Adding Werner to the staff could also be a sign that Saban wants to maintain spread elements in his offense. Former Alabama QB AJ McCarron told a radio station that he sees the offensive coordinator hire as Saban facing a decision about whether to go back to a more pro-style offense, like the ones seen under Jim McElwain and Doug Nussmeier, or to continue to use more spread elements a la Lane Kiffin.

New England Patriots tight ends coach Brian Daboll is reportedly the leading candidate to be the next play-caller at Alabama, and his background is with pro-style offenses as a longtime NFL assistant. Werner’s off-field input could lead to a balanced approach.

The offensive analyst job at Alabama has become a stepping stone to joining the Crimson Tide staff under Saban. After being fired at USC, Steve Sarkisian took an analyst position on Alabama’s staff for the 2016 season. Sarkisian was later promoted to offensive coordinator and recently accepted the same position with the Atlanta Falcons. After staff changes at Maryland, former Terrapins offensive coordinator and interim head coach Mike Locksley also joined UA as an offensive analyst. He has recently been promoted to the on-field staff.

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