McElwain All Tide For Few More Weeks

The first question dissipated rather quickly. Most figured out that Jim McElwain being named head coach at Colorado State would not affect McElwain's final days on the job as the Alabama offensive coordinator. The second question is for another day.

When Alabama offensive coordinator Jim McElwain was being courted by Memphis, then Fresno State, and finally by Colorado State, it was obvious that the Crimson Tide assistant coach might end up as a head coach. That's what happened. After taking his name out of consideration for the first two opportunities, McElwain accepted the job as head coach at Colorado State. And he did a little work for the Rams in his first week.

For now, though, McElwain is back on the job as Alabama's offensive coordinator. Crimson Tide Coach Nick Saban said McElwain would be at Alabama through the BCS National Championship Game. The Tide plays LSU in New Orleans on Jan. 9.

Until then, McElwain puts Colorado State responsibilities on hold. And Saban isn't using time now for finding a replacement that will be needed later.

"I don't think you can recruit, get ready for a game, practice for a game, and try to be interviewing people at the same time," Saban said. "Something's going to be sort of left out."

It is not uncommon for an assistant coach, particularly a coordinator, to land a head job at the end of the season as McElwain did this year. Sometimes the coordinator moves along, even though a bowl game remains, leaving the head coach to make do – extra work for himself and/or assistants, perhaps; or making do with graduate assistants; or even making a quick hire replacement. More often, though, the assistant is loyal to the program and continues through the bowl game.

"It doesn't affect preparation at all," Saban said. "Mac's going to be here."

Saban has experience on both ends of the situation.

"I did this when I was defensive coordinator with the Cleveland Browns and got the head coaching job at Michigan State," Saban said of his 1995 move. Saban stayed with his pro job "the last three or four games in the regular season and two playoff games."

Saban said, "The organization was good in supporting me in what I wanted to do, and we'll do the same thing for Jim.

"We're happy for him. He's done a great job here for us in a lot of different ways. I think the players are very happy for him.

"I think he's the kind of guy that has a lot of pride in what he does and I don't think there's going to be any issues or problems in his commitment to what we're doing for our team and this game."

Saban also noted that Colorado State will get some exposure benefit from national coverage of his role as Alabama's offensive coordinator in going for a second national championship in the past three years.

Saban said "There is no process yet" regarding selection of a replacement. "We do our due diligence and research, but our focus is on this game right now. We'll kind of do that a litle bit at a time. I don't think there's any hurry. I definitely feel like we want to get the best possible guy, and that takes time.

"First of all, I'd like to see who's interested and who's available and go from there, but our focus right now is on this game."

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