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Sunday, February 23, 2020

College Football

Steve Sarkisian to remain at Alabama rather than take Colorado job

Steve Sarkisian

The Colorado Buffaloes will continue to look for a new head coach.

Steve Sarkisian will remain at Alabama rather than go to Colorado, according to ESPN’s Chris Low and Yahoo’s Pete Thamel.

News came out on Thursday that Sarkisian was a candidate for the CU job, but now we’re hearing he will stay at Alabama and get a raise from the Crimson Tide.

Sark was previously a head coach at Washington before leaving for USC, where he was ousted due to his alcohol issues. After his firing by USC, Sarkisian went to Alabama as an offensive analyst for a season, then was the Falcons’ offensive coordinator for two seasons, and he returned to Bama as their OC. Sarkisian also was in the mix for the Mississippi State head coaching job.

Steve Sarkisian reportedly a candidate for Colorado head coach job

Steve Sarkisian

The University of Colorado is nearing the end of its coaching search, and Steve Sarkisian appears to be among the final candidates for the job.

Sarkisian interviewed with Colorado this week, as first reported by Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports. ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg added on Thursday that the Buffaloes’ head coaching search appears to be nearing the finish line, with Sarkisian, New York Giants assistant coach Bret Bielema and Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun all finalists for the position.

Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy appeared to be the front-runner for the Colorado job at one point, but he has decided to remain in the NFL. He will likely have a good chance to land a head coaching gig at the pro level after the 2020 season.

Colorado found itself unexpectedly looking for a head coach after Mel Tucker left to take the same job at Michigan State. Sarkisian would be a great buzz hire who has plenty of experience coaching in the Pac-12, though he was fired from his last head coaching job at USC because of alcohol issues.

Sarkisian has worked as the offensive coordinator with the Atlanta Falcons and on Nick Saban’s staff at Alabama since being fired at USC, so you could argue that his resume has gotten even stronger in recent years.

Report: Graham Harrell, Alex Grinch could be candidates for Colorado head coach job

Graham Harrell

The Colorado Buffaloes may have to go a bit deeper to find a new head coach after Mel Tucker’s departure.

According to Bruce Feldman of The Athletic, Colorado may contact USC offensive coordinator Graham Harrell and Oklahoma defensive coordinator Alex Grinch as head coaching candidates after several leading candidates withdrew from consideration for the job.

Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy and Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian were serious candidates, but are no longer in consideration.

Harrell and Grinch are both viewed as potential head coaches. Harrell is an Air Raid playcaller who improved the USC offense last year, while Grinch has a good reputation as a defensive coordinator. Both have ties to the Pac-12 as well, though both are unproven as head coaches.

Former Wisconsin and Arkansas coach Bret Bielema and Air Force coach Troy Calhoun are still candidates. Interim coach Darrin Chiaverini is also a candidate for the permanent job.

Harrell received interest from an NFL team as an offensive coordinator, but nothing came of it. USC may have a harder time retaining Harrell if he gets a head coaching offer.

Bill Belichick hires special teams coach Joe Houston away from Alabama

New England Patriots

Former USC Trojans kicker Joe Houston is moving on up in the coaching world.

Houston was hired by the New England Patriots as an assistant special teams coordinator, according to The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman.

Houston was a kicker at USC from 2007-2010 under Pete Carroll and Lane Kiffin. He then kicked in the Arena Football League for the Chicago Rush and Nebraska Danger. Houston began coaching in 2012 for his junior college, El Camino College, and spent three seasons there. He moved on to Toledo, then Iowa State for three seasons, and he was a special teams analyst for Alabama last season.

The Des Moines Register described Houston as a kicking whisperer in a 2018 article headline. Houston was a Chris Sailer Kicking kicker and staff member.

The Patriots could use help with their kicking game, which was a weakness last season. They used four placekickers because of Stephen Gostkowski’s injury.

Report: Karl Dorrell to be next Colorado head coach

Karl Dorrell

The Colorado Buffaloes have been going through a coaching search since Mel Tucker left for Michigan State, and they appear to have a new head coach.

Yahoo’s Pete Thamel reported on Saturday that Karl Dorrell is the favorite to be the next Colorado head coach.

NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport later said that Dorrell is definitively getting the job.

Dorrell, 56, was a former UCLA wide receiver from 1983-1986 and became the Bruins’ head coach from 2003-2007. He went 35-27 over five seasons, which was highlighted by a 10-2 season propelled by future pros Maurice Jones-Drew and Marcedes Lewis. Beyond that, he was exactly .500, going 6-6 twice, 7-6 once and 6-7 another time.

Since being fired by UCLA, Dorrell has mostly coached in the NFL, typically as a wide receivers or quarterbacks coach. He has worked with the Dolphins, Jets and Texans, and is entering his second season (second stint with them) with Miami.

Darrin Chiaverini is currently the program’s interim head coach. Other people like Eric Bieniemy, Bret Bielema and Steve Sarkisian have been mentioned in connection with the job, but nothing on that front materialized.

As someone who was a student during Dorrell’s time as head coach at UCLA, I can tell you this hire does not impress me. Dorrell was mostly an average coach who did not do much despite having some very good talent. The Buffs have only had one winning season since 2006, and I wouldn’t expect their fortunes to change much by hiring Dorrell.