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January 16, 2012

Nussmeier comes to terms with UA

TUSCALOOSA | Doug Nussmeier has agreed in principle to become the next offensive coordinator at the University of Alabama, a source confirmed to The Tuscaloosa News.

The former University of Washington assistant coach, who held the same role for the Huskies for three seasons, is expected to earn a salary in the range of $600,000 per year, according to the source. UA has not yet announced the move officially. Other reported candidates for the position included former New York Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, and former Jacksonville Jaguars coordinator Dirk Koetter.

Schottenheimer will reportedly be the St. Louis Rams' offensive coordinator next season, while Koetter will run the Atlanta Falcons' offense.

Last season, Nussmeier's Washington offense averaged 410 yards per game, ranking No. 38 in the nation, and 33.4 points per game, which ranked 26th nationally. As for balance, the Huskies' offensive production included 154 yards per game by rush, and 256 by pass. Nussmeier, 41, was also Washington's quarterbacks coach and oversaw the development of Jake Locker, who was a first-round NFL Draft choice by the Tennessee Titans last April. Locker passed for 2,265 yards with 17 touchdowns and nine interceptions in his final season at Washington in 2010 under Nussmeier, and another 385 yards rushing.

At UW, Nussmeier worked under head coach Steve Sarkisian, like Nussmeier a former college quarterback. Sarkisian is considered among the top offensive minds in the college game, though, according to the Seattle Times, Sarkisian handled play-calling duties for the Huskies rather than Nussmeier.

Nussmeier's background prior to his three-year stint at UW includes a season at Fresno State, and two years as the quarterbacks coach with the NFL's St. Louis Rams. As a player, he was a record-setting quarterback at Idaho before embarking upon a five-year NFL career, primarily with the New Orleans Saints. He will inherit an experienced Alabama offense that will return four of five starters on the offensive line, quarterback AJ McCarron, tight end Michael Williams, and a proven rusher in Eddie Lacy.

Nussmeier becomes Alabama's third offensive coordinator under Nick Saban, after McElwain and Major Applewhite, who held the position in Saban's first year in 2007. McElwain, who accepted a head coaching job at Colorado State last month, remained on the UA staff through the BCS National Championship Game win over LSU on Jan. 9.

As for the other vacancy on the Alabama staff, former UA assistant coach Lance Thompson has told acquaintances that he has agreed to return to Alabama to fill the opening left by linebackers coach Sal Sunseri. Thompson, known as an elite recruiter, left Alabama for Tennessee after the 2008 season. Sunseri took a job as defensive coordinator at Tennessee last week.

Reach Chase Goodbread at chase.goodbread@tuscaloosanews.com or at 205-722-0196.


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