It has been a rough few weeks for Nick Saban and Alabama football.
Obviously on Monday, the Crimson Tide got absolutely dominated by Clemson in the national championship.
In the days since, Alabama’s coaching staff has seen a number of important departures, especially on the offensive side.
Co-offensive coordinator Mike Locksley took the head coaching job at Maryland a few weeks ago. Since the title game, the other co-OC, Josh Gattis, has taken the OC job under Jim Harbaugh at Michigan.
Most recently, Dan Enos, who looked poised to take over as offensive coordinator after serving as quarterbacks coach, took the OC job at Miami.
Saban needs to build the offensive staff from almost ground-up, and he may be going into the well of former Alabama staffers.
Steve Sarkisian, who served one game as Alabama offensive coordinator in 2017, could return to coach under Nick Saban again, news of which is drawing very mixed reviews.
Sark, the former head coach at USC and Washington, joined Saban’s staff after being fired by the Trojans. After Lane Kiffin left the team to take over FAU, Sark filled in as offensive coordinator for the 2016-17 national championship against Clemson, Alabama’s first title game loss to the Tigers.
He left a few weeks later for a stint with the Atlanta Falcons, which did not go particularly well. The Falcons attack took a serious dip from the 2016 NFC Championship year to Sarkisian’s first year in 2017, and while it did improve this fall, it still wasn’t great.
News of Sark’s potential return to Tuscaloosa has not gone over well, even though it is very hard to second-guess Saban.
We hired Sarkisian…again?! 🤦🏻♀️
— Amy Leigh ☽ (@amyleigh831) January 13, 2019
Effin Sarkisian, man
— LT (@RTRWLT) January 13, 2019
When you see that tweet about Steve Sarkisian back to Alabama as OC.. pic.twitter.com/ZlsYBStkhK
— bamachampsX17 (@bamacrimson77) January 13, 2019
Alabama hires Steve Sarkisian.
Every Alabama fan: pic.twitter.com/joym0S8f78
— Cole Reynolds (@cbreynolds_) January 13, 2019
I got to be honest I just don’t understand this Steve Sarkisian move…we’ve seen this movie before
— Brandon Wilson (@BrandonWilson22) January 13, 2019
WHY CANT I GET RID OF SARKISIAN! I get blessed hes leaving @AlabamaFTBL and then boom goes to @AtlantaFalcons. I get happy he gets fired from the Falcons and boom goes back to Bama. Lord help me. #Rolltide #InBrotherhood
— Ben Scarborough (@__bengineer) January 13, 2019
Not everyone hates it though. Alabama radio host Ryan Fowler thinks it could be a return to the pro-style offense, which he believes would be a positive move.
A Sarkisian hire would mean Saban wants to get back to some pro-sets, could you imagine the play action pass with Tua?
Get back to whipping people’s butts at the line of scrimmage pic.twitter.com/poPnWa1Ovk
— Ryan C. Fowler (@RyanCFowler) January 13, 2019
USA Today‘s Dan Wolken thinks Sark has gotten too much criticism for that title game loss, and his Falcons tenure.
If I may offer a counterpoint, Sark is a perfectly reasonable hire as an OC for Bama. Got better in ATL, didn’t necessarily deserve to be fired. Blaming 2016 title game loss on him is dumb given the circumstances filling in for Kiffin.
— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) January 13, 2019
It is fair to say “trust in Saban,” but this definitely isn’t the most adventurous move he’s made in recent years. It may still work out, as so many things do for the Tide, though.