Alabama Football: Mario Cristobal Would Be a Home Run Hire for Nick Saban

Barrett SalleeSEC Football Lead WriterFebruary 19, 2013

Former FIU head coach Mario Cristobal
Former FIU head coach Mario CristobalRobert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Staff continuity is an undervalued piece of the dynasty building process. Keeping assistants on staff from year to year keeps the players on the field on the same page and promotes a sense of stability that is attractive to recruits.

Alabama head coach Nick Saban lost offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland earlier this month, after Stoutland joined Chip Kelly's staff with the Philadelphia Eagles.

The loss of a position coach may not seem like a big deal, but Stoutland has been instrumental in developing the dominant Crimson Tide offensive line, and—perhaps more importantly—on the recruiting trail in South Florida.

Stoutland was the recruiter of record for wide receivers Amari Cooper and Eddie Jackson over the last two seasons, and his connections to one of the most talent-rich areas in high school football was only going to be beneficial in the future.

With Stoutland gone, Saban needed to find a replacement who brings a similar résumé to the table.

He found one.

According to, former Florida International head coach Mario Cristobal will be named Alabama's offensive line coach. No official announcement on Cristobal has been made by the University of Alabama.

Cristobal, who turned down the Rutgers head coaching job after last season, was fired by Florida International after the Panthers went 3-9 in 2012.

It would be a home run hire for Saban.

Cristobal played for the Miami Hurricanes in the late 1980s and early 90s, has coached at the collegiate level in the South Florida region for 12 of the last 15 years, and has served as an offensive line coach at Miami and Rutgers.

Simply put, he's the perfect fit for the spot vacated by Stoutland because he brings the same attributes to the table that Stoutland did.

Cristobal's dismissal from FIU was one of the most curious moves of the offseason, but the Panthers' loss is Alabama's gain. Cristobal's familiarity with Stoutland's old stomping grounds on the recruiting trail will allow him to step to the Alabama staff with minimal disruption.