Steve Sarkisian put together a masterpiece for his final game as the offensive coordinator at Alabama, as the Tide carved up Ohio State en route to a 52-24 win in the national championship game.
It was the culmination of one of the greatest offensive seasons in college football history, and on the back of that effort, Sarkisian was able to land the head coaching job at Texas, where he jetted off to almost immediately after hoisting the championship trophy. As such, Nick Saban found himself in need of yet another offensive coordinator, as his program has become something of a rehabilitation center for failed head coaches at various levels.
A few years with Saban can get you right back into the conversation for the top jobs in the country, as we learned with Sarkisian and Lane Kiffin. Naturally, this meant the coordinator position in Tuscaloosa wasn’t open long before a big name found his way there, as Bill O’Brien, the former Penn State and Houston Texans head coach, is finalizing a deal with the Tide to be their new OC, according to Chris Low of ESPN.
O’Brien has been spotted at the Alabama football complex in recent weeks, and so this doesn’t come as a major shock to anyone but simply puts a bow on a very brief opening for the most coveted coordinator job on the planet. He will have his hands full in trying to replicate what Sarkisian was able to do, mostly because the Tide will see massive turnover on that side of the football. Mac Jones, DeVonta Smith, Jaylen Waddle, Najee Harris, Landon Dickerson, and Alex Leatherwood, all award winners and likely first or second day draft picks, will be departing Tuscaloosa for the NFL.
That’s not to say there isn’t ample talent in the reserves at Alabama, where 5-stars replace 5-stars, but it does mean less experience, particularly on the offensive line and at quarterback, for a new coordinator to come in and deal with. That said, the quickness with which O’Brien filled Sarkisian’s shoes — and getting a chance to be in the facility and gain some familiarity with what they were doing this year over the last week or two — likely means the train will keep rolling along and he can get his stuff installed quickly this spring.