It's only Week 3 of the 2022 college football season, but Alabama offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien's name is already being mentioned for an opening.
Per The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman, Nebraska’s top three candidates for the open coaching job are Iowa State’s Matt Campbell, Kansas coach Lance Leipold and Alabama offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien.
It only makes sense that Nebraska would be interested in O'Brien, who has a head coach at the college and NFL level.
However, Campbell is the name a lot of people are focussing on. He led the Cyclones to a top-10 finish in 2020 and has compiled a 45–34 record with the program.
Other candidates that the Cornhuskers are interested in are Washington State coach Jake Dickert, Coastal Carolina coach Jamey Chadwell and current interim coach Mickey Joseph.
Joseph fired defensive coordinator Erik Chinander following the blowout loss to Oklahoma on Saturday.
Nebraska fired coach Scott Frost on Sept. 11 after a 1–2 start to the season, including an embarrassing home loss to Georgia Southern.
The name fans keep bringing up is Urban Meyer, who recently rejoined Fox as a college football analyst. According to a recent report from CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd, Nebraska contacted him about its coaching vacancy, though it’s unclear if Meyer was asked about his interest in the job.
Leipold was a Nebraska assistant from 2001–03 and got his first coaching job at Wisconsin-Whitewater where he won six Division III national titles and went 109-6. From there he went to Buffalo and elevated the program into the top 25 before joining Kansas.
The revitalized Jayhawks are off to a 3-0 start this season.
O’Brien was widely credited for the rebuild at Penn State (2012-13) before taking over the Houston Texans for seven seasons.
During Alabama's media day at the start of fall camp, when the offensive coordinator was made available for the only time this season, O'Brien was asked about his various opportunities over the offseason when he was linked to various NFL jobs including the open Jacksonville Jaguars job after Meyer was fired. The job eventually went to former Eagles head coach Doug Pederson.
“I made a commitment to Coach Saban," O'Brien said. "Those things come up relative to what your role is in different programs, where you’ve been. I’ve been doing this a long time and I’ve had various roles in coaching, so obviously, those things come up. But I made a commitment to Coach Saban.
"I love coaching here. The players, the coaching staff, it’s been – like I said in the opening statement here – it’s been a really good experience. I’ve learned a lot. I’m very appreciative of Coach for giving me this opportunity.”
Of course, it doesn't hurt to be coaching the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, but Bryce Young is expected to enter the NFL draft after this season.