Alabama coach Nick Saban said on Tuesday that it was an “ongoing process” to find a replacement for offensive coordinator Steve Sargsyan, who was appointed head coach in Texas a week ago.
Former Texas Houston head coach Bill O’Brien has been selected by Saban and is considered a prime candidate for the vacancy, sources told ESPN’s Chris Lowe.
Saban plans to talk to a number of job candidates, sources said.
“I can’t make any predictions about our staff,” Saban told reporters Tuesday morning after Alabama beat Ohio to win the National College Football Championship. “I think we have a wonderful staff. I like the chemistry in our staff. We are happy for Sark. I don̵
“It’s an ongoing process for us to find the right offensive coordinator. We’re certainly in the process.”
If Saban were to hire O’Brien as Sarkisian’s replacement, it would be a second time that Saban had sought an offensive coordinator who had previously worked with longtime friend and New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. The latest was former Patriots coach Brian Daball in 2017.
O’Brien was an assistant at Belichick’s Patriots headquarters from 2007 to 2011, before serving as head coach at Penn State, where he helped restore the program following the Jerry Sandusky scandal and subsequent NCAA sanctions.
O’Brien went 15-9 for two seasons at Penn State before being hired as the Texas head coach. He was promoted to general manager before the 2020 season, but was fired after a 0-4 start.
O’Brien was on campus last week and spent some time around the program as Alabama prepared for the National Championship game.
Whoever replaces Sarkisian will have a heavenly standard to meet.
In two seasons that called for a game, Sarkisian averaged 47.8 points and 526.6 yards per game.
ESPN’s Chris Lowe contributed to this story.