Sources tell FootballScoop that Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian is a candidate for the head coaching job at Mississippi State and the two sides have had significant conversations.
Sark is in his first year back on the Alabama staff after previously spending the 2017-18 seasons with the Atlanta Falcons as their offensive play caller. Sark also spent part of the 2016 season at Alabama as an analyst (and ultimately called the plays in the National Championship game after Lane departed for FAU).
With previous head coaching experience turning around Washington (2009-13) and at USC following Pete Carroll (2014-15), Sark would give Mississippi State fans a proven commodity as a head coach who has had the opportunity to grow under the tutelage of Nick Saban in a variety of roles now. Sark went 34-29 turning around the Huskies and 12-6 before a leave of absence at USC five games into the season eventually turned into a dismissal in October of 2015.
Our understanding is that Sarkisian feels that he is ready to step back into a head coaching role, and sees the opportunity in Starkville as a great opportunity. We hear that if Mississippi State leadership makes a reasonable offer, he plans to accept it and a deal could get done soon.
One potential hitch in this relationship is the clear “fish out of water” scenario. Sark grew up in California, went to BYU, played in the CFL and then worked the next 15 years of his life on the West Coast. Prior to coming to “revitalize his career” under Nick Saban in 2016, Sark probably could not have guessed where Starkville is. State went that route with Joe Moorhead and things just never clicked. Notably, they also went that same route with Dan Mullen and it did work. Mullen had spent four years recruiting and working at Florida prior to taking the job and Sark has this past year (+ some in 2016) at Alabama to gain some local perspective. The question on this one is can Mississippi State leadership get comfortable enough, to rename the town… #SarkVegas?
Stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.