It’s old news now that Steve Sarkisian is ditching Tuscaloosa to head to the NFL and be the offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons. That leaves people wondering what is next for the Crimson Tide in a position that has had plenty of controversy over the last two months with Lane Kiffin taking another job and then essentially being fired mid-playoffs, then Sarkisian eating boogers and losing the national championship.
Chip Kelly is looking for a job, and is the hot name to bring up in literally every opening coaching position over the last month or so. Sure his name is appealing and people would probably get excited about it, but is it really the best choice?
Like Kiffin and Sarkisian, Kelly is looking to land somewhere that will vault him to his next head coaching job. So he will be with Alabama one year, maybe two max. So you’re only finding a temporary solution for right now. Kelly is also the hottest name in college coaching every year because of the success he had at Oregon. He left on top and went the NFL so he will be welcomed back to college with open arms, much like Steve Spurrier and Nick Saban were.
Also, after seeing the tension between Kiffin and Saban, and maybe a little between Sarkisian and Saban – do you really want more of that? Both were big time head coaches that were on the rebound, and Kelly is no different, except he was a major college head coach and is coming off two NFL head jobs. If anyone thought Kiffin had an ego and a problem working with someone like Saban, Kelly will be much worse.
Bottom line – a job is a job, and that may be the reason Kelly ends up in Tuscaloosa. But let’s look at some real choices:
Mike Locksley (Alabama Co-OC) – Locksley was already promoted from analyst to be the co-offensive coordinator with Sarkisian in January. This seems like the safest route for Alabama to go, and may very well be the way things turn out. In the end, it’s a little late to go hiring so Locksley could take over full time. Locksley is a fairly good offensive coordinator and has been the OC at Maryland and Illinois along with head coach at New Mexico.
Billy Napier (Arizona State OC) – Could Alabama really steal Napier back? Guess it depends on whether the contract has been signed out in Tempe yet. This may not happen, but you never know. He was already passed over once for Sarkisian.
Mark Helfrich (former Oregon HC) – Hey, if you’re going to say Chip Kelly, why not say Kelly’s offensive coordinator? Helfrich’s name is mentioned everywhere almost as much as Chip Kelly’s name. The only perk would be that he coached up Marcus Mariota, so what could he potentially do with Tua Tagovailoa?
Derek Dooley (Cowboys WR Coach) – People will automatically roll their eyes at this, but let’s not forget he worked with Saban at LSU and Miami. He’s currently the WR coach with the Cowboys (Jason Garrett was also a Saban assistant at Miami).
Mario Cristobal (Oregon Co-OC) – Same thing with Napier, would he really leave the job he just took only to come back and take a job he was passed over for twice? The biggest thing to look for here is that Oregon seems to be coming apart with David Reaves, the Duck’s other co-offensive coordinator essentially getting canned for a DUI, the weight lifting stuff where players were put in the hospital, and their wide receivers coach left for UCLA as well.
George Godsey (former Texans OC) – Just parted ways with the Texans after making the playoffs. So he’ll be looking for a job and has been mentioned a little bit.
This would never happen, but I still don’t think it would be a bad hire, but what about Charlie Weis? People will roll their eyes at that too, but he did win three Super Bowls as offensive coordinator. And Lord knows he’s looking for work. Let’s not forget that Saban hired his son, Charlie Jr. as an offensive analyst, and he was seen at some Alabama games. Charlie Jr. is now an assistant with Kiffin in Boca Raton, so don’t know if that would hurt the chances or not.
Just saying, if you want a hire out of left field, there you go.