Clint Trickett was brought in at Alabama as a graduate assistant last week. This week, he’s leaving to be Lane Kiffin’s TE coach at FAU. And people are losing their minds.
I keep running across message board posts and tweets, and even people that text me asking “why is everyone leaving Alabama? Is everyone tired of Nick Saban? What’s going on in Tuscaloosa?” 8 coaches have left the Alabama staff this offseason.
People. Pay attention to what’s happening here.
If you had an opportunity at either more money or more power, or a better chance to move up to what you ultimately want to do, would you not take it?
Seriously, this has gotten ridiculous. Yes, there’s been an exodus out of Tuscaloosa. But a lot of these you knew would happen eventually. And it’s what happens to good programs. Saban built a phenomenal staff with a lot of former head coaches or former coordinators that were staffed as either analysts or position coaches. There’s only 2 coordinator positions in Tuscaloosa. These guys came to Alabama to work their way back up, and Nick Saban helped them do that.
Let’s take a look at each specific one.
Lane Kiffin (Alabama OC to FAU Head Coach)
There are not a lot of head coaching positions available, and every OC, DC, and any other assistant coach, is trying to get one. Kiffin came to Alabama to rehab his reputation after his ugly exits from head coaching positions with the Raiders, Tennessee, and USC. After 3 years as OC, it was time for Kiffin to move on and build his own program. FAU is not where people expected him to land, but he had to try to rebuild his reputation by rebuilding his own program, not sitting under Nick Saban. This was the right move for him.
Steve Sarkisian (Alabama OC to Atlanta Falcons OC)
Sark and Saban didn’t seem like a great fit to begin with, and anybody in their right mind that got to choose between coaching Matt Ryan at QB and Jalen Hurts… well, you get the point. The Falcons offense is absolutely loaded with weapons, and a lot of college coaches DREAM about coaching in the NFL. People that want to question this move really aren’t thinking about the grand scheme of things – an NFL OC job is a passage way to an NFL head coaching job. If that’s what Sarkisian was most interested in, then this made the most sense. He has all the talent he’ll ever need in Atlanta, and he runs a system that fits that talent extremely well. No brainer here.
Clint Trickett (Alabama graduate assistant to FAU TE Coach)
Trickett worked as the QB coach at East Mississippi Community College for years and finally got on as a grad assistant at Alabama just last week. Now, pay attention to this one: grad assistants take those jobs (that pay very little) in order to get on-field jobs as actual assistant coaches. Trickett got a call from Kiffin to come be his TE coach. An actual paid on-field assistant position. This was, again, a no-brainer.
Mario Cristobal (Alabama OL coach to Oregon co-Offensive Coordinator)
Cristobal has been Alabama’s OL coach since 2013. Before that, he had been FIU’s head coach for a number of years, and did a pretty damn good job at it. He’s a phenomenal recruiter, but he was not going to be the Offensive Coordinator at Alabama. Oregon offered him that position, and a raise, to come to Eugene with Willie Taggart. OL coach to Offensive Coordinator? That’s a promotion, folks.
Billy Napier (Alabama WR coach to Arizona St offensive coordinator)
Billy Napier is a former Clemson offensive coordinator who came to Alabama as an offensive analyst under Jim McElwain in 2011. He then moved with McElwain to Colorado St as the assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach in 2012 before returning to Alabama as WR coach in 2013. He learned under Saban, and, like all assistant coaches, wants the opportunity to be a head coach someday. He also got a promotion, from WR coach at Alabama to offensive coordinator at Arizona St, coaching former Alabama player Blake Barnett. If he’s successful enough at ASU as OC, he could end up with his own program in a few short years.
Wilson Love (Alabama asst strength coach to FAU head strength coach)
Love was the right hand man to Alabama strength coach Scott Cochran. He was second fiddle, but Lane Kiffin offered him the chance to run his own strength program at Florida Atlantic. Yes, again, another promotion. Cochran isn’t going anywhere, and if he does, Love moving to Boca Raton and proving that he can build his own strength program will help gear him up to take over in Tuscaloosa. It’s all about promotions.
Charlie Weis Jr (Alabama offensive analyst to FAU TE coach to Falcons offensive asst)
Weis Jr was an offensive analyst at Alabama – an off-field assistant that did not get to work with player. Kiffin offered him an on-field position as TE coach at FAU. Of course, that didn’t last very long because Sarkisian called an offered him an assistant position with the Atlanta Falcons, which he jumped at.
Freddie Roach (Alabama director of player development to Ole Miss DL coach)
Freddie has been at Alabama for a few years, but was an off-field assistant, and had worked his way up to director of player development. Ole Miss offered him a chance at an on-field position, which included a hefty pay raise. He’d be a sucker not to take this.
Remember, it’s all about moving up in the world. And every single one of these moves was a promotion from where they currently were. Yes, it is a lot of coaches leaving at one time, but is there any other coach in college football in which you would have as much faith getting the right guys in place than Nick Saban? I didn’t think so.