Who replaces Ryan Grubb? 5 Alabama football OC candidates
And just like that, Alabama football is back on in the market for an offensive coordinator.
The Crimson Tide appeared set at the position with one of the best in the country. Ryan Grubb had accepted the offer to follow new UA head coach Kalen DeBoer from Washington and was working for Alabama football.
Then the Seattle Seahawks came calling. Grubb had a chance to return to Seattle, and he took it.
This didn’t catch Alabama off guard, though. The Crimson Tide always knew it was a possibility.
“We knew when we hired Coach DeBoer that there was a chance that Coach Grubb may end up being either the head coach at UW or was on the radar screen with the Seattle Seahawks,” Alabama athletics director Greg Byrne told The Tuscaloosa News on Saturday morning. “Coach DeBoer had a plan for that and that is being worked on as we speak.”
Who are some of his options in mid-February? Here are some names that could make sense for the hire, in no particular order.
Kirby Moore, Missouri offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach
SEC offensive coordinator experience? Check.
Has worked under DeBoer? Check.
Wants to join Alabama and Alabama wants him? To be determined.
If DeBoer pursues Moore, it would make sense. Moore was the passing game coordinator/wide receivers coach under DeBoer at Fresno State from 2020-21. Then Moore took over as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach when DeBoer and Grubb left for Washington in 2022. Moore’s ascent continued when Eli Drinkwitz hired him as offensive coordinator at Missouri in 2023. The Tigers finished No. 29 in the country in scoring (32.5 points per game) and wound up winning the Sugar Bowl and finishing 11-2.
Moore wouldn’t come cheap, but he would be worth a look.
Nick Sheridan, Alabama tight ends coach
Set to be Alabama’s tight ends coach this season, Sheridan could make sense as a candidate to get a promotion.
The one-time Michigan quarterback has coordinator experience, having led the Indiana offense from 2020-21 after DeBoer left. Then Sheridan coached Washington’s tight ends the past two seasons. Other coaching stops include Tennessee as a graduate assistant as well as South Florida and Western Kentucky as a passing game coordinator. He’s got some experience, and he knows DeBoer’s system. Two good reasons for him to get a look for the opening.
JaMarcus Shephard, Alabama wide receivers coach
Shephard is another one at Alabama already who has experience as a coordinator.
He was passing game coordinator for Washington each of the past two seasons as the Huskies finished second (2023) and first (2022) among FBS teams for passing yards per game. He was also the co-offensive coordinator for Purdue from 2018-2021.
Shephard is another name who could make good sense for the opening if DeBoer wants to stay in house.
Kurtiss Riggs, former Sioux Falls Storm coach
This would be more of a wild card hire of sorts, but Riggs could end up on the staff in one way or another.
He was DeBoer’s quarterback and roommate in college, so the two go way back. But Riggs has put together a strong coaching career since then, too.
He was the quarterbacks coach/receivers coach for Sioux Falls from 2005-2009, winning three NAIA national championships with DeBoer, who was the head coach.
Riggs has also been the coach of the Sioux Falls Storm, the professional indoor football team. And all Riggs has done there is win. Riggs helped the Storm win 11 league championships with a career and postseason record above .800. He became a member of the Indoor Football League’s Hall of Fame in 2021.
Riggs might fit better in a less prominent role on the staff considering he’s not as big of a name and hasn’t coached high-level college football. Or perhaps DeBoer doesn’t care as much about that and just hires based on coaching ability. Either way, Riggs is a name worth monitoring for some type of role on the offensive staff as it experiences a shakeup.
Kalen DeBoer, Alabama coach
Hire himself? Why yes, it actually might make sense.
No one knows his system better than him. He has also proven to be a talented play-caller in college football. Look no further than his work with Indiana in 2019. Plus, this could make the most sense at this point in the offseason.
If DeBoer were to go this route, he would likely still hire an offensive coordinator to lead the offense, but DeBoer would be the play-caller. Because of his duties as head coach, DeBoer would most certainly need others on staff to help with various duties during practice and on game days. But DeBoer could still call the plays during the game.
Crazier things have happened. Why go look for a quality play caller when you’ve already got one on staff?
Nick Kelly is the Alabama beat writer for The Tuscaloosa News, part of the USA TODAY Network, and he covers Alabama football and men’s basketball. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him @_NickKelly on X, the social media app formerly known as Twitter.
First appeared on www.tuscaloosanews.com