Alabama football: Nick Saban targeting 2 failed NFL coaches to replace Steve Sarkisian

Nick Saban, Alabama Crimson Tide. (Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)
Nick Saban, Alabama Crimson Tide. (Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) /

Nick Saban is eyeing two big names to replace Steve Sarkisian as his offensive coordinator.

With Steve Sarkisian leaving for the Texas Longhorns’ head-coaching job, Alabama head coach Nick Saban has to replace yet another high-profile coordinator on his Crimson Tide staff.

Every year, Saban loses either an offensive coordinator or a defensive coordinator to a better job. Sarkisian heading to Teas means there is a major void to be filled on Saban’s staff. Bruce Feldman of FOX Sports and The Athletic reports two candidates to replace Sarkisian in Tuscaloosa are former Houston Texans head coach Bill O’Brien and former New York Jets head coach Adam Gase.

Laugh now, but either would be a fantastic hire for Saban and his program

O’Brien is of the Bill Belichick coaching tree from his time with the New England Patriots organization. Prior to winning four division titles in five years with the Texans, O’Brien was instrumental in changing the culture of the Penn State Nittany Lions program in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal. If he is just a coordinator, O’Brien will keep Alabama a title contender.

As for Gase, he has a connection with Saban. He was a student at Michigan State when Saban was the head coach there. He then served as a graduate assistant on Saban’s LSU staff early in his coaching career. Prior to failing with the Jets, Gase had been the Miami Dolphins head coach, serving as the Denver Broncos and Chicago Bears’ offensive coordinator.

Gase and O’Brien would not be the first former head coach Saban will have rehabilitated. He has helped guys like Lane Kiffin, Mike Locksley, Butch Jones and now Sarkisian get FBS jobs after their careers looked dead in the water. We know that O’Brien can run a Power 5 program well, but it remains to be seen if Gase is really cut out to be a leader of young men at the college level. They can, however, benefit from learning under Saban, and resurrect their careers as he has done more than a dozen times at Alabama.

Laugh all you want, but one of these two coaches can help Alabama win another championship.

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