For new Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, the lure of returning to the NFL where he had spent most of his coaching career and the chance to return home to Western New York were obvious factors in his decision to leave the University of Alabama.
But was there another factor? The Tuscaloosa News reports that Daboll was frustrated with Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban because Saban wanted to stick with Jalen Hurts at quarterback when the offense was slumping in November while Daboll wanted to play freshman Tua Tagovailoa. The disagreement on personnel matters "weren't all that contentious, but they were frustrating," the report said.
Tagovailoa was inserted in the second half of the national championship game against Georgia and led Alabama to an overtime victory. The Tide scored 20 points in the second half and Tagovailoa threw the decisive 41-yard touchdown pass in a 26-23 victory.
Daboll has not publicly commented on his move to the Bills.
From the Tuscaloosa News:
For an assistant coach, the NFL lifestyle is more desirable by some due to not having to recruit. There’s also the pull of going home that must be factored in to Daboll’s decision. However, there was some frustration on Daboll’s part on personnel matters, multiple sources told The Tuscaloosa News. These weren’t all that contentious, but they were frustrating for an offensive coordinator being asked to put his best offense on the field. Daboll wanted to play freshman quarterback Tua Tagovailoa sooner than he has given the green light to do so. That doesn’t mean that Daboll didn’t like or want to play Jalen Hurts too. That’s not accurate at all. It’s just that Daboll saw what Tagovailoa was doing in practice against the best defense in the country and wanted to give him a chance once the offense started slumping in November.
Following Daboll's departure, Saban released a statement wishing he and his family well. The statement was highly complimentary, given some past statements from Saban on other coaching departures.
“Brian did a tremendous job for us this past season at Alabama, and I know he will do a great job for the Buffalo Bills,” Saban said. “He is an outstanding coach and coordinator who put us in position to be successful each week. We appreciate all that he did in terms of his time and his dedication in contributing to the success we had this season. We wish Brian, his wife Beth, and their entire family all the best.”