Former Alabama QB AJ McCarron played for two offensive coordinators, Jim McElwain and Doug Nussmeier, during his Crimson Tide career (2009-13). As McCarron was wrapping up his time in Tuscaloosa, Nussmeier left Alabama to take the offensive coordinator job at Michigan, which led UA to hire Lane Kiffin. Three years later, McCarron is keeping an eye on who will become the new play-caller for his former team after the departures of Kiffin and successor Steve Sarkissian.
“Where coach is going to find himself in a situation now is you went from Mac (McElwain) and Nuss (Nussmeier) – we were pro style and a little bit of shotgun – to spread with Lane (Kiffin),” McCarron told The Opening Kickoff on WNSP-FM 105.5. “That’s two different style of recruitment for athletes, especially at the quarterback position.
“Are you gonna stay spread? If that’s the case, do you have to go outside the staff to hire another spread guy? Where do you get him from? What’s his background? Or are you planning to go back to pro style?”
In the most recent recruiting class, Alabama signed both a dual-threat prospect, 5-star QB Tua Tagovailoa, and a pro-style passer, 4-star QB Mac Jones. While it’s uncertain if either will see playing time in 2017, both will certainly be ready to relieve starter Jalen Hurts, a former 4-star dual-threat prospect, in case of injury.
Brian Daboll, who has spent the past 17 seasons in the NFL, is reportedly the clubhouse leader to land the gig. Daboll has spent the past three seasons as the New England Patriots’ tight ends coach.
As for Alabama’s tight ends coach, a position previously handled by Mario Cristobal, UA will reportedly hire Joe Pannunzio, who served as the Crimson Tide’s director of football operations from 2011-14. McCarron shared a ringing endorsement for Pannunzio joining the on-field staff.
“It’s an awesome hire by coach (Saban),” McCarron said. “JoPa is probably my favorite person from my days there. I still talk to him to this day. We’re very close. He’s just unreal. One of the best guys you will ever meet.
“I can’t say enough about him. I love him. I love his whole family. He’s just awesome.”