With the news on Tuesday that Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian has taken the same role with the Atlanta Falcons, that leaves an opening at the 2nd or 3rd most important staff position for the best program in the country. So with Alabama likely to have its pick of the litter, what are the chances a Big 12 assistant could make the jump?
First off, none of these candidates are likely, but it’s something to think as the job search kicks off.
Big 12 assistant: Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley
Riley is making $900,000 with the Oklahoma Sooners. Many have wondered whether or not Riley is the eventual successor to Bob Stoops. But that is a ways down the road. Stoops isn’t going anywhere (nor should he). If Saban were to call Riley, would he even pick up the phone? He reportedly knocked it out of the park in his interview for the Houston head coaching job, so maybe Saban wants to learn more about the up-and-comer. Plus his offense is innovative and unique, capitalizing on some air raid but also using a strong running game. Lastly, Lane Kiffin made $1.4 million last season, so maybe the money is enough to entice Riley.
Ultimately, I don’t think this happens. Riley has noted multiple times he’s not a job hopper and he seems very content in Norman. There’s no need for him to leave now.
Big 12 assistant: Oklahoma State’s Mike Yurcich
Yurcich reportedly had his name tied to the Auburn offensive coordinator position. Yurcich “only” makes $400,000 per year, so the Crimson Tide could at least double his salary, if not more. The Oklahoma State offensive coordinator led a Cowboys attack this season that joined Clemson as the only Power 5 teams to have a 4,000-yard passer, a 1,000-yard rusher and a 1,000-yard receiver. Oklahoma State fans have had a love-hate relationship with Yurcich, so a large part of the fan base may not be all that upset to see him go.
That being said, Yurcich was pulled from the Division-II ranks and has no ties to the SEC, so the odds of this are slim to none.
Former Big 12 head coach: Art Briles
Yes… I’m bringing this up, only because I heard callers bring it up today on the Paul Finebaum Show. Insanity? Yep. I don’t see Saban doing it. BUT, if there was ever a reason to think this MIGHT be possible, they do have the same super agent in Jimmy Sexton. Saban has done favors for Sexton before, like when he hired Lane Kiffin, who was also a Sexton client.
But, with the recent news of Baylor releasing text messages by Briles in the wake of various incidents on campus, it’s hard to see his second chance coming any time soon.
For the record, my guess is it goes to Mike Locksley, who is already on the staff as co-offensive coordinator. I don’t see Nick Saban wanting to deal with a Chip Kelly-type ego.
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