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Saban speaks highly of O’Brien as Bama job looms

Bill O’Brien is expected to be named Alabama’s new offensive coordinator, according to ESPN, and Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban had a lot of good things to say about the former Penn State coach.

In this video posted on ESPN, Saban speaks for about a minute on O’Brien and says, “I’ve always tried to have the best knowledge and experience I can for our players and their development, and I certainly think he can contribute to that in a very positive way. … I think he’ll do a great job with our players here.”

That certainly sounds like a deal is already done.

Here’s what else Saban had to say about O’Brien:

“When he was with Bill Belichick, New England Patriots, I think everybody knows the relationship that we have with Bill. (O’Brien) was the offensive coordinator there. Went to Penn State in probably the most trying times of any great program coming off a lot of crazy stuff and did an outstanding job of sort of rebuilding that program, getting players to stay there, having a real representative, positive program.”

O’Brien coached Penn State during the 2012-13 seasons, then left to become head coach of the Houston Texans. He had success in the NFL, winning four AFC South Division titles, but things fell apart on O’Brien this season.

He also became the team’s general manager, and O’Brien made some highly questionable moves that hurt the Texans franchise. He was fired after the team’s 0-4 start.

Saban once coached the Miami Dolphins from 2005-06 and mentioned that when discussing O’Brien’s NFL tenure.

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“I think he did a really good job in Houston when he was the head coach,” Saban said. “I think when he became the general manager, maybe things didn’t go exactly like he would have liked trying to have both roles. But having been a head coach in that league, I know how difficult it is to do both of those things. Probably impossible.

“So, based on the body of work up until then, I think he’s an outstanding coach and really good person. He’s got a great family.”

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Cory Giger is a 15-year veteran of the Penn State beat and a journalist with 28 years of experience. He has won more than 100 state and national journalism awards during his career, plus he's a voter for the Heisman Trophy in football and Wooden Award in basketball.

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