Nick Saban has Notre Dame offensive coordinator Tommy Reese as Alabama’s top target, according to multiple reports. Reese is scheduled to meet Saban in Tuscaloosa on Thursday.
After Bill O’Brien left the program this offseason to take the same job with the New England Patriots, Saban is looking for a new player, though O’Brien is not expected to be retained in any way. Saban is looking for a fifth offensive coordinator since Lane Kiffin left as FAU coach before the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship.
At 30, Reese will be Saban’s youngest coordinator since Will Muschamp in 2002, when LSU coordinator. Reese was Notre Dame’s quarterbacks coach from 2017-19, under former coach Brian Kelly, and added an offensive coordinator role in 2020. Notre Dame QB-13 in 2010, he has never served as a full-time assistant coach in another program but was on the offensive staff of the San Diego Chargers in 2016.
Ahead of the 2022 season, the Irish Fighting’s offense thrived under Reese, but was hampered by an injury to starting quarterback Tyler Buchner in Week 2. During Reese’s other two years, the Irish averaged at least 6 yards per game. Over the past year, Reese has overseen the offensive transition from Bushner to Drew Pine at quarterback while focusing on a ground-based approach.
News of Reece being targeted by Saban comes just two days after Washington offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb reportedly turned down a job offer to return to the Huskies. Grubb helped quarterback Michael Penix Jr. become the nation’s leading passer with 357 yards per game last season.