Paul Finebaum believes Steve Sarkisian staying at Alabama could be the difference in Nick Saban winning another national championship
Staff continuity has not been a luxury afforded to Nick Saban’s Alabama coaching staff in recent years and the play on the field has suffered as a result. Losing Steve Sarkisian to Colorado, especially this late in the process with spring practice set to begin in Tuscaloosa in the coming weeks, could have been disastrous for the Tide’s efforts in 2020.
That’s one of the biggest reasons SEC Network host Paul Finebaum believes Alabama fans should be happy that Saban’s offensive coordinator is set to return to Tuscaloosa for at least another season after recently being courted by Colorado. Colorado was considering Sarkisian as a head coach candidate following Mel Tucker’s decision to leave the program for Michigan State after only one season.
In fact, during his most recent Monday morning appearance on Birmingham-based WJOX 94.5 FM radio show “The Roundtable,” Finebaum expressed his opinion that Sarkisian’s decision to return to Alabama could very well prove to be the difference in the Tide capturing another national championship under Saban.
“Right now, I think it’s a really big plus for Nick Saban,” Finebaum said on the show. “Whether you like Steve Sarkisian or not, this is the first sign of stability that we’ve seen on that staff in awhile and I think that’s critical. We’ve gone from a new narrative, excuse me, an old narrative of Saban winning a couple more national championships to get him one more before he moves on, and I think the key to that is Sarkisian being there. Defensively, you can debate (the defensive coordinator Pete) Goulding but I think fans do feel better about Charlie Strong looking over his shoulder, but Sark is the best bet right now.
“Forget all his problems, which I think he’s overcome, give him credit for that. He’s been there, he understands the system, clearly Saban took a chance a couple of years ago bringing somebody back in that had literally walked out on him after one game, as the offensive coordinator, but it looks like it turned out to be a good move.”
That last point is one that is often overlooked but one Saban deserves credit for since his decision to help Sarkisian land on his feet following the coordinator’s dismissal from the Atlanta Falcons. Saban likely played a big role in Sarkisian staying in Alabama over pursuing the Colorado head coaching position and will likely help his assistant land a better job in the near future should Sark pursue one.
The way Finebaum sees it, while Sarkisian may make less money this season at Alabama than had he left for Colorado, the move makes sense on a few different levels.
“Yeah, I’ve only been to Boulder two or three times but $2.5 million probably spends better in Tuscaloosa than $3 or $4 in Boulder – and there’s no pressure,” Finebaum added.
If Alabama manages to win another national championship thanks in part to the success of Sarkisian’s explosive offense, especially if the Tide does so with Sarkisian QB recruit Bryce Young, there’s little doubt the coordinator will quickly develop into a hot commodity the next time the coaching carousel starts spinning in full force.