Cristobal to Bama: The Impact

Mario Cristobal became Alabama's new offensive line coach on Monday. Read on to see what CanesTime's Mike Bakas is saying about it, and what it means for the Hurricanes.

Everyone was very excited when the University of Miami agreed to terms with former player/assistant coach Mario Cristobal last month.

Fans viewed the hiring as something that could really solidify the 2013 recruiting class, and a hiring that could ultimately lead to Miami's next head coach.

A couple weeks after Cristobal was hired by Miami head coach Al Golden even made comments about how Cristobal's experience as a head coach had already been helping him in a variety of ways leading up to National Signing Day.

From there, however, things haven't gone so well. Less than two weeks after the Hurricanes had a lackluster finish to its 2013 recruiting class, Cristobal is already leaving town. This time to Alabama, to become its offensive line coach/Associate Head Coach.

Obviously, many Hurricane fans expressed their displeasure over the news. However, lets be real honest about this -- Cristobal now has a chance to coach for the nation's hottest program and likely receive a major bump in his annual salary. A lot of people would have done the same thing if given the opportunity.

One must wonder, though, what this decision will do to Cristobal's chances down the road of becoming a head coach at Miami. He left to take what is pretty much the same position (assistant coach/Associate Head Coach) at a competing school. Competing school? Yes. While the Canes don't play Alabama on the field, they do recruit head-to-head with many of the same players. The best example is former Miami Northwestern star receiver Amari Cooper, who was the best player on the Crimson Tide offense this past season as a true freshman. If not for Bama, Cooper would be a Hurricane.

A little over a month after Miami's staff received a recruiting boost with the hiring of Cristobal, it now has lost him to a program that it's regularly competing with for elite players in South Florida. That can't be a good sign for the Hurricanes.

At the end of the day, it's easy to see both sides of the story here. If you're Cristobal, the move makes sense in a lot of ways -- unless he's thinking about becoming Miami's head coach one day (and even that event is likely a long time away considering how committed Al Golden seems to UM). If you're Miami, however, you probably have every reason to be upset. Inking Cristobal to a deal at a time when the NFL was calling his name probably wasn't the easiest thing to do. Then about five weeks later he takes the same type of job at a rival program? Tough, tough break for the UM administration on that one.

From a recruiting standpoint, the impact remains to be seen. Cristobal seemed to have very little positive impact on Miami's 2013 recruiting class. Because he was hired so late in the process, that was to be expected. His big impact was expected to come in the 2014 class. However, he's gone now. We won't be able to judge the recruiting impact of this decision until Golden hires his replacement.

Based on Golden's last few hires, expect the new assistant coach to be someone with strong ties to the south Florida community and someone with good recruiting skills. Those are qualities that coaches such as Cristobal, James Coley, and Hurlie Brown all have.

One final note, and this is probably the best of it all for Miami fans, is that Golden is now 4-for-4 in terms of his coaching hires. What does that mean? College coaches come and go all the time, everywhere. Some get promotions. Some get demotions. Some stay at about the same level. The first four coaches who left Golden's staff have all taken promotions -- Jedd Fisch (NFL OC), Terry Richardson (NFL RB's), George McDonald (college OC), and now Cristobal (hired by the nation's top program right now). In other words, Golden is getting it done with his coaching hires.

That should be a reason for optimism with the new hire that will be coming up soon. The best coaches, such as Nick Saban, produce quality coaches all the time. And when those coaches leave for better jobs, he replaces them with coaches of similar ability.

Fortunately for Miami, Golden seems to be doing that here. And that hasn't happened here in a very long time.

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