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Nick Saban says he 'never considered' going to Texas

Friday evening Nick Saban agreed to a long-term extension and raise at Alabama.

Nick and Terry Saban (Photo: Vasha Hunt, AL.com)An hour or so after that news was announced, word leaked that Mack Brown would remain head coach at Texas.

The timing of the two events led to speculation that Saban’s decision had something to do with the decision to keep Brown in place, but Saban says that becoming coach of the Longhorns is something he “never considered.”

“The way this sort of got spun, it was a little bit more like, ‘OK, he got a new contract at Alabama, so he’s going to stay at Alabama instead of going to Texas,’” Saban told ESPN.com’s Chris Low on Saturday. “I never considered going to Texas. That wasn’t even a conversation.

“I knew that if Mack stepped down, there would probably be an opportunity, but it wasn’t something I was interested in doing, not at this stage in my career.”

Details of the new deal have not yet been released, but the contract is expected to pay Saban upwards of $7 million per season.

According to Saban, his agent Jimmy Sexton has been working on the extension with Alabama “all the way back into the season,” and the timing of the deal being completed just after the end of the regular season made for a sticky situation.

“I have a tremendous amount of respect for Mack Brown,” he said. “Mack Brown is the coach at Texas. He deserves the right, based on his body of work, to be able to leave the program the way he wants to leave the program. It wasn’t fair to him or to me to be speculating about this job, which I haven’t talked to anybody there about.

“Really, the whole thing from my perspective stunk, but there wasn’t a hell of a lot I could do about it.”

Saban hopes this will be the last time he has to deal with speculation of him considering other jobs.

“Maybe this will be what the Cleveland Browns, Tampa Bay thing was to the NFL the last couple of years. That kind of ended the pro speculation,” Saban said.

“Maybe this will end the college speculation. This is where I’m going to finish my coaching career.”

Photo: Vasha Hunt, AL.com

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Status quo: Mack Brown still Texas coach; Saban agrees to deal at Bama

It looks like the rumors of the end of Mack Brown’s era as Texas coach were greatly exaggerated.

Mack Brown (Photo: AP)Brown’s Friday evening meeting with school president Bill Powers and athletic director Steve Patterson came and went and, according to all reports, Brown will coach the Longhorns in 2014.

The news came roughly an hour after Alabama officials announced that Nick Saban has agreed to terms for a long-term extension.

Coincidence? Probably.

Regardless, even if Brown’s status changes in coming days or weeks, it looks like Texas’ top choice as his replacement is off the board.

This probably isn’t the end to the Texas soap opera, but it looks like the status quo will hold … at least for now.

Photo: AP

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Mike Groh leaving Bama for the NFL; FSU's Napier to the Tide

Mike Groh is leaving Nick Saban's staff for the Chicago Bears. (Photo: Matthew Emmons/USA Today)

Mike Groh (right) is headed to the Chicago Bears. (Photo: Matthew Emmons/USA Today)

[dropcap]A[/dropcap]labama wide receivers coach Mike Groh is leaving for a job on the Chicago Bears’ staff and will be replaced by FSU tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator Billy Napier.

The turn of events is ironic for Florida State, as Groh is being hired for the same position that FSU assistant Lawrence Dawsey turned down earlier this week.

Billy Napier (Photo: Bart Boatwright/Greenville News)

Billy Napier (Photo: Bart Boatwright/Greenville News)

Groh had one of the biggest recruiting hauls of the 2013 class and was named Recruiter of the Year by Rivals.com and 247Sports.com.

Napier just joined Jimbo Fisher’s staff in January. He was assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach under former Bama offensive coordinator at Colorado State head coach Jim McElwain last season. He was an offensive quality control assistant under McElwain at Alabama in 2011.

Before that, Napier spent five seasons at Clemson. Originally hired as tight ends coach in 2006, he added the recruiting coordinator title in 2007 and was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2009. He held that role for two seasons.

Napier, who is considered an excellent recruiter in his own right, was set to make $275,000 at Florida State.

Groh was part of Nick Saban’s staff the past two seasons, and it was his second stint in Tuscaloosa. He was an offensive graduate assistant at Alabama in 2009.

He coached quarterbacks at Louisville in 2010, and spent eight years at Virginia (2001-08), his alma mater.

 

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Alabama hires Cristobal as OL coach

Mario Cristobal will be Alabama's new offensive line coach. (Photo: US Presswire)

Mario Cristobal will be Alabama’s new offensive line coach. (Photo: US Presswire)

[dropcap]N[/dropcap]ick Saban and Alabama will hire Miami assistant Mario Cristobal as its new offensive line coach.

Cristobal is in Tuscaloosa finalizing the deal, according to Jeremy Fowler of CBSSports.com.

Cristobal spent six seasons as Florida International’s head coach, inheriting an incredibly difficult situation and a frustrating administration. After leading the Panthers to two bowl games, he turned down an opportunity to replace Greg Schiano at Rutgers last January, only to be fired following a 3-9 season in 2012.

On Jan. 10, Cristobal was named associate head coach and tight ends coach on Al Golden’s staff at Miami. However, a source tells us that Cristobal was not excited about returning to his alma mater and was likely to accept a position on Saban’s staff if offered.

Cristobal was a four-year letterman at Miami Hurricanes from 1989-92. He was a member of the Hurricanes 1989 and 1991 national championship teams and was an all-conference offensive tackle in 1992. Cristobal spent a year with the Denver Broncos and two years in NFL Europe before moving into coaching.

Cristobal returned to Miami as a graduate assistant from 1998-2000 before being hired by Sciano as Rutgers’ tight ends and offensive line coach. He coached at Rutgers from 2001-2003, and then went back to Miami in the same capacity from 2004-06.

Alabama is looking to replace Jeff Stoutland, who left the program to become the offensive line coach with the Philadelphia Eagles. Stoutland spent two seasons with the Crimson Tide and collected a $395,000 salary.

On Friday, South Carolina’s Shawn Elliott pulled his name out of the running. UCF’s Brent Key also interviewed for the position.

 

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Add one name, remove another from Bama's offensive line target list

Former FIU head coach Mario Cristobal will interview for the offensive line job at Alabama today. (Photo: Ongo.com)

Former FIU head coach Mario Cristobal will interview for the offensive line job at Alabama today. (Photo: Ongo.com)

[dropcap]S[/dropcap]cratch one name from the list of potential offensive line candidates at Alabama and add another.

Nick Saban had a strong interest in South Carolina running game coordinator and offensive line coach Shawn Elliott, but Elliott has informed Steve Spurrier that he will remain with the Gamecocks.

“It was a great honor to be considered for a coaching position at the University of Alabama, but I feel it’s in the best interest of me and my family to remain at South Carolina,” Elliott told Andrew Gribble of al.com. “We’ve had a lot of success here over the past three years and I’m committed to being part of that continued success for many years. I’m proud to be a Gamecock.”

You can add the name of former Florida International head coach and current Miami tight ends coach Mario Cristobal to the list of candidates. Cristobal arrived in Tuscaloosa on Thursday and will interview with Saban today.

Cristobal, who inherited an incredibly difficult situation and a frustrating administration at FIU, was fired on Dec. 5 after six seasons as head coach.

On Jan. 10, Cristobal was named associate head coach and tight ends coach on Al Golden’s staff at Miami. However, a source tells us that Cristobal was not excited about returning to his alma mater and would accept a position on Saban’s staff if offered.

Central Florida offensive line coach and Alabama native Brent Key interviewed for the position earlier this week and may be the leading candidate.

Former Alabama offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland, who left last month to join Chip Kelly’s Philadelphia Eagles’ staff, made $395,000 last year.

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Alabama or USC: Could Pat Hill be returning to the college game?

Pat Hill could be in line to return college coaching as offensive line coach at Alabama or USC. (Photo: Bryan Cole/The Collegian-Fresno State)

Pat Hill could be in line to return college coaching as offensive line coach at Alabama or USC. (Photo: Bryan Cole/The Collegian-Fresno State)

[dropcap]C[/dropcap]ould Pat Hill be returning to the college game?

It looks like a strong possibility.

Hill, the former Fresno State head coach, was fired in December 2011 after 15 seasons with the Bulldogs. He spent last season as the Atlanta Falcons’ offensive line coach.

The Falcons offensive line performed well and Hill admits he had fun coaching in the professional ranks, but sources indicate that he is itching to be a college head coach again and his best route may be a return through college.

Enter Nick Saban and Alabama, who just so happens to have a coaching history with Hill and is in need an offensive line coach following Jeff Stoutland’s departure to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Hill has tremendous respect for Saban, dating back to the early 90s when they both coached under Bill Belicheck on the Cleveland Browns’ staff. Saban and Hill were in Cleveland together from 1992-94 with Saban as defensive coordinator and Hill the offensive line and tight ends coach.

Just after Stoutland left for Philadelphia, Saban reached out to Arkansas offensive line coach Sam Pittman but was rebuffed. Sources indicate that he’s also spoken to Hill and that a deal could be currently in the works.

If nothing happens with Alabama, USC may also be a possibility. Speculation is rampant that USC is in the market for an offensive line coach, with current Trojan offensive line coach James Cregg being reassigned to tight ends coach or let go entirely.

Lane Kiffin recently tried to hire Oregon State offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh but was turned down.

Like Saban, Kiffin also has a history with Hill. Kiffin served as a GA on Hill’s staff at Fresno State in 1997-98, and hosted Hill during his first spring practice as the Trojans’ coach in 2010.

Hill recently told the Fresno Bee that he enjoyed his season in Atlanta and away from the limelight.

“I had a lot of fun, and I didn’t have to talk to the media once,” he said with a laugh.

“I’ll be here for another season, for sure.”

That was before the Alabama or USC job openings were known. Could a job the caliber of Alabama or USC be enough to change his mind?

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Alabama's jaw-dropping new weight room

Alabama's new weight room.

Alabama’s new weight room. Photo courtesy @mtinney43

[dropcap]A[/dropcap]s if Nick Saban needed any more recruiting advantages, Alabama has just completed construction on a new weight room and it is, to say the least, impressive.

The photo above, which was tweeted by Crimson Tide walk-on linebacker Matt Tinney, has caused quite a stir around the internet.

Funding for the project was just approved in August and construction was fast-tracked to be completed in January – just in time for Signing Day.

The new two-story facility is 34,495-square foot and cost $9.1 million.

“When people come to Alabama, they expect to see the best,” Saban said in June. “We should always strive to have the best. As long as we have the resources and we can provide the best for our student-athletes, that’s what we should do in all sports.”

The new facility replaces Alabama’s current, 22,000 square-foot weight room, which is less than 10 years old. For comparison sake, a photo of the old weight room is below.

(Photo: Alabama Athletics)

(Photo: Alabama Athletics)

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