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Saban may have staff holes to fill in near future

Jim McElwain

Even with all coaching tumult going on around the collegiate landscape, it’s been (relatively) quiet on the Alabama front when it comes to other school’s raiding Nick Saban‘s staff.

Offensive coordinator Jim McElwain was reportedly one of three finalists for the Colorado job but, besides that, there was not much in the form of speculation to suggest there would be much if any Tide turnover.

That, however, could change sooner rather than later.

The Houston Chronicle is reporting that McElwain is again receiving interest, although this time it’s for the same position at Texas.  The Chronicle writes that the Tide’s current coordinator is one of a handful of candidates being considered to replace Greg Davis, who stepped down from his long-time post earlier this month.  McElwain isn’t the only coach Saban has to worry about possibly replacing, however.

According to the Tuscaloosa News, and citing a source familiar with the situation, outside linebackers coach Sal Sunseri is actively pursuing the coaching vacancy at Pittsburgh.  Sunseri is a former Pitt player and coach, and his son is currently the Panthers’ starting quarterback, provided he survived being tossed under the bus by one of his receivers of course.

It’s unclear if Pitt is reciprocating Sunseri’s interest.

Additionally, the News reports that wide receivers coach Curt Cignetti has interviewed for the head coaching vacancy at Kent State.  Saban is a KSU alum, and the school’s athletic director reportedly called him seeking advice on replacing Doug Martin.

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10 Responses to “Saban may have staff holes to fill in near future”
  1. edgy says: Dec 10, 2010 5:15 PM

    So, if all these coaches leave and things get worse, will Nick decide that it’s time for him to spend more time with his family? 😯

  2. Deb says: Dec 10, 2010 5:40 PM

    JT, your Sunseri/Pitt link above connects to a piece about Cignetti interviewing for Kent State.

  3. Deb says: Dec 10, 2010 5:43 PM

    Don’t think Nick’s ready for the La-Z-Boy yet, edge. So far, I haven’t heard anything I can’t live with. Doubt Nick has either.

  4. WingT says: Dec 10, 2010 6:02 PM

    The McElwain to Texas as OC is interesting in that Saban has always said that he is against a lateral move for coaches which this would be. Or maybe it would be a step up for Mac and not a lateral move. It’s not clear if McElwain has control of the offense.

    If you look at Alabama’s coaches titles on offense McElwain is listed as the Offensive Coordinator / Quarterbacks, Burton Burns is listed as Associate Head coach / Running Backs, and Joe Pendry is Assistant Head Coach – Offense. It’s confusing based on the titles. I wonder if McElwain is really in charge of the Offense at Bama – I doubt it. Sounds like he has at least Pendry above him.

    I personally would hate to see McElwain leave.

  5. cometkazie says: Dec 10, 2010 6:42 PM

    Les Miles for OC!

  6. Deb says: Dec 10, 2010 10:39 PM

    @WingT …

    I’ve had a few issues with the offensive play-calling the last two years. Wouldn’t upset me much if we had to make an adjustment at OC. I’m more concerned about getting the defense to step it up. But it’s no easier to replace a Rolando McClain than it is a Troy Polamalu.

    Did you mean it when you said you’d like to see Sterger try to sue the NFL or were you being facetious? I’d like her to forget football and try getting a gig on The Bachelor, The Girls Next Door, or Nancy Grace–some reality show I’ll never watch.

  7. WingT says: Dec 11, 2010 8:51 AM

    Hey Deb,
    It’s hard to know just where the problem is regarding Alabama’s offense. I am not convinced that Saban “has nothing to do” with the offense as he claimed back in the season. I doubt that McElwain has a free hand to shape the offense the way he wants. He may just be a play caller/strategist.

    The more I look back and review the games ( I just have nothing else to do but study game tapes, lol) I think the O line was by far the weakest link on the offense, and the main reason it was not consistant. We never established the run – ever. I also think that McElroy has a very slow release – he was late on almost every throw he made. If you watch the games, he would see the receiver break open and then adjust his feet, take his time and throw the ball. He was late on every throw. It was like he was in slow motion.

    The play calling, in my opinion, was good enough. The execution was not. What we as fans don’t know is ; did the QB recognize the D and check off into the right play? Did he have a check off option? How many missed assignments happened on the failed play?

    If you remember the Ole Miss game, Alabama’s offense did something very different than they had ever done. They came to the line, McElroy barked out a few signals, then they all stood up and looked to the sideline to ” get the checkoff” . They only did this in the Ole Miss game and they only did it for a few series. Not sure what was up with that but my guess is that the coaches were really struggling trying to get the O on the same page. And I would really believe that Saban was meddling in the O and there were some real come to Jesus meetings with the staff during that time of the season.

    If McElwain leaves, don’t expect Saban to hire a dynamic O coordinator – he hasn’t yet since he has been at Bama. I think Pendry is really in charge of the Offense and he is just a Saban puppet.

    Now don’t get me wrong – I think Saban is the best coach in college football. I am not questioning his decisions, just trying to understand them. There is so so much that goes on behind closed doors regarding the coaching staff that we will never know . I would love to be a fly on the wall.

    As to you question regarding if I want to see Sterger sue the NFL. I said that I hope she TRIES to sue the NFL. She needs to put up or shut up. You know as well as I that if she decides to jump bad and sue the NFL, Goodell will put the finest lawyers on her and destroy her case. I just wish she would go away. What a real shit Favre is -he needs to decide if he wants to be married or not – jeeze what a sleeze. I lost all respect I had for Favre after this Sterger BS came out.

  8. Deb says: Dec 11, 2010 4:00 PM

    @WingT …

    Hope you’re wrong about Saban. He cannot run the defense and the offense–and his full attention is needed on defense. Absolutely know what you mean about McElroy. It is impossible to be related to my sis-in-law and not know what you mean :) She and my brother were frustrated with Greg this season.

    I was just frustrated with the offense as a whole. Between Bama and the Steelers, I’m dreaming about offensive lines … or should I say having nightmares. We definitely have personnel issues. Our up and coming QB is supposed to be excellent (his name escapes me right now–AJ?) Anyway, I’d like to hope Saban would be open to bringing in sound offensive strategist. It doesn’t have to be a dynamic presence.

    I wasn’t disillusioned with Favre because I had no illusions with Favre. Have known for years about his personal pecadilloes. Deanna has written that she knew about them when she chose to marry him and has stayed with him despite them. She is not living in the dark. That’s why I’ve maintained that this is between them. Some things–like a cancer diagnosis–we can’t control. But if we stay in relationships, jobs, or continue to do things that are unhealthy for us, we’re doing it because some part of us wants to do it.

    My only interest in him is what he does on the field, and as players, I admire those few Iron Men who get pounded and keep coming back. As for Sterger, I despise women who pretend to be victims in order to profit in some way. They deserve whatever they get. Real victims don’t spend two years gossiping and joking about something, then decide they should be compensated after their big mouth results in the story going viral. The Vikes and Childress should sue her. She played a big part in destroying their season and getting him fired.

  9. WingT says: Dec 11, 2010 4:57 PM

    Hey Deb,
    A couple of points I want to make sure I make more clear. I think Saban is a brilliant Head Coach. I really look at him as the ultimate ‘CEO’. I am just very curious how he has his coaches structured in terms of responsibilities – I would love to know this. (Whatever he is doing obviously works, lol) And he has to have some level of control and influence over the offense – he should, it’s his neck on the $5M line. Throughout the year he told us the problems with the team but no one of listened – we all remembered the NC and just assumed that he would work miracles with an immature team and win another one. And he almost did!

    McElroy is probably 2x the QB that AJ is right now. That’s scary when you think about it. AJ has a very long way to go – he will be the offenses weakest link next year. I truly believe we could see Phillip Sims starting at QB – we will know after the spring.

    Finally, don’t worry about your Steelers – they are an amazing team this year. The only hurdle for them will be NE and Tom Terrific. Big Ben is pretty amazing as well.

  10. Deb says: Dec 11, 2010 5:36 PM

    @WingT …

    Oh … let me clarify about AJ :) My brother and sis-in-law said he has an excellent arm, not that he’s ready to go.

    I’m really proud of what the Steelers have managed given all the odds stacked against them with Ben missing the first four games and our o-line playing musical chairs. We’ve had something like 5-7 different starting alignments for that line because of injuries. Unreal. Ben aggravates me sometimes because he’s not the student of the game that Brady or Manning is. But I hate to say he’s the guy you want when the game is on the line, the pocket collapses, and there’s chaos on the field. I think Brady is the best in the league and Manning right behind him, but they aren’t necessarily at their best in the midst of chaos. Ben is. A lot about his playing style–good and bad–reminds me of Favre.

    Tom Terrific. I love Dick Lebeau but Belichick just has our number and Lebeau stubbornly sticks to the same defense every time we play them. Sure wish he’d talk to the Browns. In 07, the Giants (and Ravens) were the only teams to do what I’d been screaming at the TV all year. Would hate to see them win another SB.

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