New offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien watches quarterback Bryce Young take a snap during practice. The Alabama Crimson Tide opened practice for the 2021 season as they prepare to defend the 2020 National Championship Friday, Aug. 6, 2021. [Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.]

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Alabama OC Bill O’Brien returns from COVID-19 isolation

Alabama offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien joined the team in the Dallas area for College Football Playoff semifinal preparations on Tuesday after completing an isolation period due to a positive COVID-19 test.

O’Brien was able to fly to Dallas after the SEC adjusted its COVID-19 protocols, similar to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announcement on Monday that shortened isolation time from 10 to five days after a positive test.

The positive test results for O’Brien and offensive line coach Doug Marrone were divulged by Alabama last Wednesday.

O’Brien said he participated in meetings over Zoom, a familiar process from the 2020 regular season when he was the head coach of the NFL’s Houston Texans.

“The biggest thing was that Coach Saban made everything normal,” O’Brien told reporters. “It was like I was actually there. I was in every meeting.”

Marrone is expected to rejoin the Crimson Tide prior to the Cotton Bowl, where Alabama faces Cincinnati on Friday in Arlington, Texas.

Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Bryce Young certainly was happy to see O’Brien on the practice field on Tuesday. O’Brien also serves as quarterbacks coach.

“That was rough. That was really rough,” Young told reporters. “Not having him in person for an extended period of time, not having him on the field for a few practices, that was tough (to be without) someone like O.B., who is obviously such a great mind and gives us in the quarterback room so much intel.”

Alabama (12-1) ranks fourth nationally in scoring offense (42.5 points per game) and sixth in total offense (495.5 yards per game).

–Field Level Media

Field Level Media
Sport Writer & Editor
FLM has a North American focus while tying into regional and hyper-local resources – providing the ability to distribute compelling content through the writing of professional journalists. As the U.S. sports content provider to dozens of digital and print media publishers through strategic partnerships with the likes of Reuters and Nielsen Sports, FLM covers the nuts and bolts with a breaking news desk and game event coverage.

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