This year was the start of a new era for Alabama. Bill O’Brien came in as offensive coordinator and Bryce Young became the new starting quarterback.
Building that relationship took time, as it usually does in football. But O’Brien pointed to an interesting source as a reason he and Young connected so quickly.
“For me, relationships with quarterbacks are really, obviously, a big part of being in the position that I’ve been in, whether it’s at Alabama or the other places I’ve been,” O’Brien said. “There has to be a trust, and from day one when Bryce walked into the office when I got to Alabama, he had a really good knowledge of the offense, which is a testament to last year’s coaching staff and also Mac Jones and his ability to mentor Bryce last year. So Bryce had a good understanding and we started talking about the offense. It was a good relationship right from the start, and it developed a bond and a trust right from the start.
“When you’re dealing with a quarterback of the talent level but also the intelligence of Bryce, that trust is easy, and he’s able to be involved in the game plans and it’s just been a really great experience for me. One of the best experiences of my career.”
It sure worked out. Young became the first Alabama quarterback to win the Heisman Trophy and led Alabama to the College Football Playoff once again.
The relationship was a two-way street, though.
Bryce Young on his relationship with Bill O’Brien
Young also spoke about his relationship with O’Brien. He knew O’Brien’s background, coaching the New England Patriots with Tom Brady and the Houston Texans with Deshaun Watson. But he knew the relationship need to grow from the bottom up.
The bond built throughout the year and played a huge role in Young’s rise to stardom.
“I think just the amount of communication we’ve had and amount of honest dialogue we’ve been able to have … up until this day is really what has kind of pushed our relationship forward,” Young said. “For ‘OB’ to have the coaching legacy that he’s had, to coach the players and just to have that resume that he had, he could’ve easily came in and said, ‘Just sit down, be quiet and this is where you’re going to throw the ball. This is what I’m going to call.’ But for him to come in and talk to me about how I saw stuff or us to really be able to have that dialogue, it speaks to him as a coach and that’s something that definitely helps me, definitely makes it a lot easier for me to be comfortable in the system and for us to have success.
“So just for him that attitude when he first got here and us to be able to build and grow off that throughout the year, I’m eternally grateful that ‘OB’s’ been here and helped me out so much throughout the year.”