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Jaguars to interview Alabama OC Bill O'Brien for HC vacancy next week

Add former Houston Texans coach Bill O'Brien to the extensive list of potential hires for the Jacksonville Jaguars' head coaching vacancy. The club plans to interview O'Brien, now the offensive coordinator at Alabama, next week following the Crimson Tide's appearance in Monday's College Football Playoff national championship game, according to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport.

The Florida Times-Union's John Reid first reported the timing for the interview.

The Jaguars also have requested permission to interview at least half a dozen NFL coordinators, as well as former Eagles head coach Doug Pederson and former Lions head coach Jim Caldwell. Pederson was the Jaguars' first interview, per Rapoport. Jacksonville will interview Cowboys OC Kellen Moore and Buccaneers OC Byron Leftwich virtually on Friday, Rapoport and NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported.

The team fired first-year coach Urban Meyer midseason amid a tumultuous combination of on-and-off-field embarrassments and losing football. The Jaguars (2-14) close the season Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts under interim coach Darrell Bevell. Among the crucial tasks for the Jaguars' next coach will be kickstarting the development of rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence, the No. 1 overall pick of the 2021 draft whose progress has stagnated behind a porous offensive line and in the absence of prolific receiving threats.

After six-plus seasons as coach of the Texans, for the last of which he also served as general manager, O’Brien was fired following an 0-4 start in 2020. He compiled a 52-48 record with four AFC South titles in Houston. However, he was heavily criticized for a trade that sent star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals; strain in his relationship with Texans executive vice president of football operations Jack Easterby played a role in his ouster, as well.

O'Brien has coordinated a prolific Alabama offense this season behind first-year starting quarterback Bryce Young, who won the Heisman Trophy. UA has averaged 41.4 points and 495 yards per game. The Crimson Tide faces Georgia for the national championship Monday night in a rematch of the Southeastern Conference Championship Game, which Alabama won, 41-24.

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