published Thursday, January 19th, 2012

Nussmeier to lead Alabama offense

  • photo
    Jake Locker, right, and Nick Montana, left, listen to offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Doug Nussmeier, center, as they take part in NCAA college football practice drills in this 2010 file photo. Nussmeier has been hired as Alabama's offensive coordinator.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Alabama announced Wednesday the hiring of Doug Nussmeier as offensive coordinator and the return of Lance Thompson as outside linebackers coach.

Nussmeier has been Washington's offensive coordinator the past three seasons and replaces Jim McElwain, who left after the Crimson Tide's 21-0 defeat of LSU in the BCS championship for the head-coaching position at Colorado State. Under Nussmeier's guidance this past season, the Huskies racked up 57 touchdowns and 431 points, the second-highest totals in program history behind the 1991 national title team.

"They were very productive on offense, especially with their quarterbacks," Tide coach Nick Saban said. "Jake Locker finished his career as one of the top passers in Washington history and was Tennessee's first-round pick. Keith Price stepped in as a first-year starter last season with very little experience, and he not only set school records but also ranked seventh nationally in pass efficiency.

"I think Doug will be a great fit with us."

Before his stint in Washington, Nussmeier spent the 2008 season as Fresno State's offensive coordinator, where he replaced McElwain. He was quarterbacks coach for the St. Louis Rams during the 2006-07 seasons and Michigan State's quarterbacks coach in 2003-05.

A former Idaho quarterback who won the 1993 Walter Payton Award as the top Division I-AA (now FCS) player, Nussmeier was with the New Orleans Saints in 1994-97 and the Indianapolis Colts in 1998.

"I'm looking forward to jumping right in with recruiting and getting to know the players and everyone involved with the program," Nussmeier said. "Coach Saban and his staff have obviously done a tremendous job here, and I want to do my part to help continue that success. I've heard a lot about Alabama football in terms of the history, the tradition and great fans, and I can already see why this is such a special place."

Thompson is back with the Tide after spending the past three seasons at Tennessee. He replaces Sal Sunseri, who left last week to become defensive coordinator for Derek Dooley's Volunteers.

This is Thompson's third stint under Saban, having worked at LSU in 2002-03 and Alabama in 2007-08.

"I'm really glad to be back at Alabama, and I appreciate the opportunity Coach Saban and [defensive coordinator] Kirby Smart have offered me," Thompson said. "As a defensive coach, it doesn't get any better."

about David Paschall...

David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...

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