Steve Sarkisian, who steadily (perhaps too steadily) rebuilt Washington and went 9-4 in his debut season at USC before getting fired, has officially joined the group of coaches orbiting Alabama's large coaching staff like an asteroid belt that's basically part of the planetary system, but not technically.
Officially, he's an "offensive analyst," not a coach, but more on that below.
Sarkisian, just like Lane Kiffin, comes to Bama after having been fired as the head coach at USC. Both were also Trojans offensive coordinators during the Pete Carroll glory years; during Sark's two years as OC, USC won two Rose Bowls.
Here are four things about this that are interesting.
1. Still in business: Nick Saban's Center for Carroll Assistants Who Can't Head Coach Good and Who Want to Learn to Do Other Stuff Good, Too.
Kiffin has gone from a head coaching laughingstock to one of the country's most respected coaches after spending just over two years with Saban. Actually, that was true after just one year, as he was nominated right away for the Broyles Award, given to the country's top assistant.
Kiffin's offense puts five-stars in position as well as anybody's in the country, and every team soon to be in need of a head coach is at least telling itself, "Hmmm, surely he's learned some stuff about maturity and development and whatever from the sport's most disciplined head coach, so ... hmmm ... "
Sarkisian is in need of a similar makeover, having been fired amid personal issues and a 3-2 start to the 2015 season. He entered treatment and spent some time away from coaching, and now enrolls in the best coaching reconstitution service there is.
(Also on that rejuvenation list, to a much lesser degree, is Bama offensive line coach Mario Cristobal, who was curiously fired after relative success at FIU and has since only boosted his image.)
The art is here:
NOW OPEN! pic.twitter.com/LbFExYFLbL— RedditCFB (@RedditCFB) September 5, 2016
2. If Kiffin does get an NFL or head coaching call-up, Saban might've already planted his next OC.
Remember how Kiffin came aboard at Alabama? He was hired in January 2014 after spending some of his post-firing 2013 helping Saban evaluate Bama's offense, according to Saban at the time. When Doug Nussmeier left for Michigan, next man up.
Sark can now spend almost all of 2016 with Kiffin, Saban, and the rest of the extremely large staff, getting some of that Bama all over himself.
The Tide could hire just about any college coordinator they want, so this isn't a guarantee, but you can see how it'd work.
3. Alabama's tertiary coaching staff is even more hilariously enormous now.
If Alabama's directory is up to date, Sarkisian marks at least 21 analysts/player personnel/ops guys on Saban's staff. Monstrous.— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) September 5, 2016
According to the NCAA, you're allowed to have "one head coach, nine assistant coaches and two graduate assistant coaches" on your staff. Alabama has all those, plus about twice as many of those on its -- quote fingers -- non-coach -- end quote fingers -- coaching staff.
That's at least 33 people splitting up coaching, recruiting (wink), managing, planning, and various other staff duties.
Saban's favorite sport to play is basketball, per reports. Alabama's expanded coaching staff could play a 12-deep, full-court basketball game amongst itself and still have enough coach-like people left over to coach each team, assistant coach each team, run a two-man announce crew, and run a three-man officiating crew.
Actually, let's do that instead of the Music City Bowl this year.
4. Alabama's expanded coaching staff now has a fifth former head coach.
Kiffin, Cristobal, former Maryland head coach Mike Locksley, former Michigan State interim Bobby Williams, and now Sark.
I'm saying: if an internal sporting event breaks out among Bama's social network of coaches, there are plenty of guys ready to grab clipboards and oversee proceedings.