Nick Saban calls Oklahoma move "the best thing for Jalen" Hurts

Courtesy of Alabama athletics
Christopher Walsh

Media opportunities with University of Alabama coach Nick Saban can be few and far between during this time of year, especially with National Signing Day fast approaching.

However, Simone Eli of CBS 42 out of Birmingham caught up to him at the annual Alabama Football Coaches Association Convention in Montgomery and was able to ask him a few questions Thursday evening, including about quarterback Jalen Hurts transferring to Oklahoma.

“I think this was the best thing for Jalen,” Saban said. “We have a great relationship, and I think he had several options as to what was the best path for him and for him to go someplace and be able to play on a good team, I think, is probably the best thing for him and his future.

“So, we appreciate so much all that he’s done for the University of Alabama, our program. The way he managed this year was really unprecedented, and I think he showed a tremendous amount of class. And I’m really, really proud of him and wish him well.”

Saban hasn't said much publicly since Alabama lost to Clemson in the National Championship Game to Clemson 44-16, on Jan. 7. He's since had a major shakeup of his coaching staff, re-hiring former Crimson Tide assistant coaches Steve Sarkisian and Sal Sunseri, and adding offensive coaches Charles Huff, Charles Kelly and Holmon Wiggins.

None of the moves have been announced yet.

Sarkisian is expected to be named the Crimson Tide's new offensive coordinator and he showed up wearing an Alabama jacket. Their appearance was promoted by organizers as: "He is bringing with him his new offensive coordinator, Steve Sarkisian, former head coach at USC and Washington. Coach Sarkisian will speak on passing game concepts."

“I think you’re always going to have changes," Saban said. “You like to have continuity. But sometimes changes bring a lot of positive energy, new energy, new ideas and we’re looking forward to sort of rebuilding the program so it’s what we want it to be.

"We’ve got a lot of work to do, but I’m excited about the people we’ve been able to attract to Alabama.”

Alabama finished 14-1 and was ranked No. 1 in the polls from the preseason until the tile game.

Among those who have departed include offensive coordinator Mike Locksley (Maryland head coach), defensive coordinator Tosh Lupoi (Cleveland Browns defensive line coach), quarterbacks coach Dan Enos (Miami offensive coordinator), wide receivers coach Josh Gattis (Michigan offensive coordinator) and offensive line coach Brent Key (Georgia Tech line coach/assistant head coach).

Those moves have been announced, with Lupoi having adding a Browns logo on his Twitter account.

"I think Tosh has got great energy and really good knowledge,” Saban said. “And I think all pro players always appreciate a coach who’s going to help them improve their ability to play at a consistent level and extend their careers, and I think Tosh will be able to do that very well.”