If the reports are accurate, Steve Sarkisian is on his way back to Tuscaloosa to run Nick Saban’s offense. Of course, Sarkisian has (briefly) served in that role once before without much success.
ESPN’s Dianna Russini was the first to report the news with her ESPN colleague Chris Low confirming that Sarkisian will be the next Alabama offensive coordinator. Sarkisian spent the last two seasons as offensive coordinator of the Atlanta Falcons. He took that job not long after being named OC in Tuscaloosa when Lane Kiffin left to take over the FAU program and coached Alabama during the program’s first title game loss to Clemson.
During his weekly Monday morning appearance on Birmingham-based WJOX 94.5 FM radio program “The Roundtable,” Paul Finebaum was asked to share his thoughts on the pending return of Sarkisian to Alabama.
To put it mildly, Finebaum does not appear to be a fan of the decision.
“Wow, I was really in a state of shock,” Finebaum said on the show, “because first of all, I had a hard time believing that Arizona wanted Sarkisian to be the offensive coordinator considering (Kliff) Kingsbury’s skill at that position. But secondly, I was in shock that Nick Saban would return to a man that spurned him after one game.
“It’s very surprising, revealing. In many ways, it’s a bewildering choice and reeks of desperation.”
Alabama is without an offensive coordinator due to two reasons: Mike Locksley left to take over the Maryland program and the team’s quarterbacks coach and heir apparent, Dan Enos, decided to take the Miami Hurricanes offensive coordinator position over staying on and taking over the same role in Tuscaloosa.
Finebaum offered up his thoughts on why Enos would make the lateral move to a program that is clearly rebuilding, as opposed to Alabama’s offense, which is stocked and ready to contend for another national championship run in 2019.
“Surprised on one level but you hear the same things we all hear, this is a difficult place to work and at some point, coaches decide, if I’m not going to advance like Kirby Smart or Jeremy Pruitt or someone of that ilk, I’m just going to get out of here,” Finebaum continued. “And I don’t mean that to say people are held captive there because they aren’t. Everyone goes there of their own free will. I think, as coaches have told me and have told you guys, it’s a suffocating place to work — you are either all in or you are not. I don’t know if last Monday night mattered all that much to Dan Enos but he clearly saw the grass greener down in Miami.
“That was a very revealing decision by him. He just did not want that job.”
In an effort to land a coordinator that knows what he’s getting into, perhaps Saban is forced to turn to a coach that’s been in Tuscaloosa and knows what it is he demands from his assistants. If that is indeed the case, it would explain why Saban has turned to Sarkisian over many others that would likely want the job.