With Steve Sarkisian officially hired to be the next head coach at Texas, we may as well take a look at some of the potential replacements. No inside information here, just pure speculation.
Tom Herman, former Head Coach, Texas
An even swap would seem too obvious, but it may make some sense. Herman is still a big name as an offensive coordinator with a national title in that role on his resume. He’s also an accomplished recruiter with the obvious ties to Texas, Alabama’s newest recruiting hotspot. No word on how earnings at a new job would affect his buyout, but Alabama can pay him more at OC than many schools pay the head coach.
Jeff Lebby, Offensive Coordinator, Ole Miss
A 2020 Broyles Award semifinalist who also has heavy ties to Texas, Lebby joined Lane Kiffin in Oxford and put out a fantastic offense. The downside here is that he has only been a coordinator at the FBS level for two seasons: at UCF in 2019 and then this season with the Rebels. Still, Alabama fans saw firsthand what Lebby can do.
Hugh Freeze, Head Coach, Liberty
This is likely a longshot for several reasons, but Saban has expressed an affinity for Hugh in the past so he is worth mentioning here. Freeze just signed an extension with Liberty that will pay him a reported $3 million, but Alabama can beat that number if they wish. Past indiscretions aside, Freeze is an offensive genius who took Liberty to heights this season that they never could have imagined. The baggage and Greg Sankey would be obstacles.
Phil Longo, Offensive Coordinator, North Carolina
Longo would have to adapt a bit to run the type of offense Saban desires, but he has proven himself as an offensive strategist and is familiar with the SEC. Longo is 52 and has been coordinating offenses for two decades, mostly at lower levels before moving to Ole Miss in 2018. The Rebels didn’t win enough games under Matt Luke, but Longo’s offense put up some yards. He was hired by Mack Brown at North Carolina after two seasons in Oxford and has put up some of the best numbers in the country. His current QB is a top NFL prospect in Sam Howell, so he does have a record developing elite young passers.
Whether the correct name is listed here or not, there should be no trouble finding a top offensive mind willing to coach the talent on hand at the salary that Alabama can pay.
Any other names you can think of?