As the Alabama coaching problem continues to be brushed over as “just another day” in Crimson Tide football, the search to actually find an offensive coordinator midway through January starts to become a legitimate concern. Former quarterbacks coach Dan Enos was expected to fill that role, but he jumped ship to join the Miami Hurricanes program.
With the list of eligible bachelors dwindling, a familiar face was reportedly in Tuscaloosa to visit with Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban about the vacant position. However, that assistant coach’s previous stint with the Tide didn’t go so well, and many fans are worried that hiring him is going to be a huge mistake.
Steve Sarkisian, who served as offensive coordinator of the Atlanta Falcons the last two years, has reportedly turned down an opportunity with Kliff Kingsbury and the Arizona Cardinals, and he is expected to be hired as offensive coordinator with the Alabama Crimson Tide, according to ESPN’s Dianna Russini.
Remember the 2017 College Football Playoff national championship game? The guy who had multiple disagreements with Saban the last time he was with Alabama? Yeah, THAT Steve Sarkisian.
After Alabama’s offensive coordinator, Lane Kiffin, jumped ship for his current head coaching job with Florida Atlantic, Sarkisian stepped in to coach just one game at Alabama, which was the 35-31 loss in the CFP title game against Deshaun Watson and the Clemson Tigers. Many blamed Sarkisian’s play-calling in that game, including seven drives that lasted only three plays and all of which resulted in punts.
As head coach of the USC Trojans and Washington Huskies, Sarkisian managed just a 46-35 record and never won a Pac-12 Conference title.
A former quarterback in his playing days, Sarkisian led the BYU Cougars to a 14-1 record in 1996 when he finished with 4,027 passing yards, 33 touchdowns and earned second-team All-American honors. Bringing him onto this team with Heisman Trophy runner-up quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, as well as a host of NFL-caliber talent on offense, could bring NFL-sized results in 2019.
Still, many Alabama Crimson Tide faithful won’t forget his one and only game with the program, and they came out in force on social media opposing his rumored return.
In two seasons leading Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and head coach Dan Quinn’s offense in Atlanta, Sarkisian’s offensive unit finished eighth (364.8) and sixth (389.1) in total yards per game in 2017 and 2018, respectively. Both seasons, the Falcons were top-10 in the NFL in scoring as well.
Should Sarkisian officially be hired into the vacant offensive coordinator position in Tuscaloosa, he has an uphill battle to climb to earn the trust of Alabama football fans. Still, Sark knows offensive football, and he might just be the spark that takes this offense back to the top of the mountain in 2019.