Written by Rainier Sabin at AL.com
When it was revealed to the team last week that Steve Sarkisian had been selected as offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin’s replacement, Alabama’s players reacted with indifference and nonchalance.
The first thing that came to mind?
“Go to practice,” left tackle Cam Robinson said.
Since they arrived on campus in Tuscaloosa, Robinson and his teammates have been drilled to ignore external factors and operate with blinders. This is “The Process” at work.
“It doesn’t matter who is calling the plays or who we have as a coordinator. Just focus on the task at hand,” said Robinson. “As long as we stay focused and we stay committed to what we want to do and what we’re trying to do, it doesn’t really bother us too much.”
Sarkisian’s presence has been more noticeable at practice since the news dropped. On Sunday, he was watching the running backs intently. Then, he sidled up to the receivers and started chatting with ArDarius Stewart.
“He’s been around the offense as much as any coach,” said running back Damien Harris. “He gets along with us pretty well. But we’re not worried about that right now. That’s next year and we’ve still got football left to play this year.
Sarkisian’s promotion happened on the same day top-ranked Alabama returned to practice as it began preparations for its College Football Playoff semifinal game against No. 4 Washington on New Year’s Eve. When it was made official, the Tide didn’t deliver a grand announcement. Instead, a news release was sent at 5 p.m. on Friday afternoon.
The public relations strategy tied to Sarkisian appointment reflected the cool nature with which the players have responded to the move.
“I’ve seen him around at practice and say what’s up to him every now and then,” left guard Ross Pierschbacher. “As far as individually meeting with him one on one, I haven’t done that yet and I think he brings a lot of knowledge to our offense and well-respected offensive mind as well. I’m pretty excited to work with him next year.”
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