Minutes before Alabama began playing against the state of Ohio in the national championship game, there was headlines about the recent position of the coordinator of the team for the offensive. According to Bruce Feldman of FOX Sports, a deal between the former Texas Houston coach Bill O’Brien and Alabama is expected to be completed in the coming days. O’Brien will replace Stephen Sargsyan at Nick Saban’s headquarters, as Sargsyan was appointed head coach in Texas last week.
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O’Brien, who previously coached at Penn State, was suspended by the Texas in October after a 0-4 start. O’Brien was hired by the Texans after a brief stint as head coach at Penn State. For two years leading the Nittany Lions from 2012-13, O’Brien was combined 15-9.
The start of the season prompted the Texans to take steps to fire O’Brien, but before that, there were many summer moves that called into question O’Brien’s leadership. With quarterback Deschawn Watson coming out as a young star in the league, O’Brien decided to trade DeAndre Hopkins – one of the best receivers of the NFL – to the Arizona Cardinals together with the fourth round. In return, the Texans went back David Johnson, election of a second round in 2020 and election of a fourth round in 2021.
O’Brien’s dismissal was allowed for a year, removed by the Texans, setting a record of 10-6 in the regular season and winning a playoff game before falling to eventual Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs in the division round. In just over six seasons with the franchise, he posted a 52-48 record with four playoff appearances.
Sarkisian’s violation with the Red Tide broke program records this season and he hopes to continue another game against the undefeated state of Ohio.
“I made a commitment to coach Saban and these players to see him in the championship match,” Sargsyan told AL.com, “and I will be in Austin right after that.”
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In his second season as a player on call in Alabama, Sarkisian watched an Crimson Tide attack that averaged 49.7 points and 543.9 yards per game after Friday’s playoff win over Notre Dame, both brands that are on top in the ranks of FBS, according to BamaOnline. The Alabama series, which scored 35 points or more, ended 24 games in a row against the Irish, the longest in the history of major football colleges.
Brad Crawford, Riley Gates and Chance Linton contributed to this report.