Cristobal to coach Bama's offensive line

Cristobal to coach Bama's offensive line

February 21st, 2013 by David Paschall in Sports - College

Florida International head football coach Mario Cristobal gestures as he speaks during a news conference Feb. 1 in Miami. Alabama has hired Miami Hurricanes assistant and former Florida International head coach Cristobal as offensive line coach. Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban announced Cristobal's hiring as assistant head coach on Wednesday just over a month after Cristobal returned to his alma mater.

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

Alabama football coach Nick Saban on Wednesday announced the hiring of Mario Cristobal as offensive line coach and assistant head coach.

Cristobal spent the past six seasons as Florida International's head coach, compiling a 27-47 record, before being hired last month as Miami's tight ends coach and associate head coach. He took over an FIU program that went 0-12 in 2006 and led the Golden Panthers to the 2010 Little Caesars Pizza Bowl and the 2011 Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl before backtracking to a 3-9 record last fall.

"He has an outstanding reputation as both a coach and a recruiter, and he will be a great fit in our organization," Saban said. "I think our players will respond to his positive attitude and energy. This is a very important hire in terms of working with our offensive line, and we feel fortunate that we were able to hire a coach of Mario's caliber."

Cristobal replaces Jeff Stoutland, who left Tuscaloosa earlier this month for a job with the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Crimson Tide must replace three starters up front, with left guard Chance Warmack, right tackle D.J. Fluker and center Barrett Jones having moved on to NFL draft preparations. Left tackle Cyrus Kouandjio and right guard Anthony Steen return, and the rest of the first-team lineup early this spring could consist of left guard Arie Kouandjio, center Ryan Kelly and right tackle Austin Shephard.

Cristobal called the hiring an "incredible opportunity."

As an offensive tackle at Miami, Cristobal played on national championship teams in 1989 and '91. As a senior in '92, he was a first-team All-Big East selection.

He played for the Amsterdam Admirals of NFL Europe in 1995 and '96 and returned to Miami in '98 as a graduate assistant for three seasons.