Alabama hires Mario Cristobal

Updated: February 20, 2013, 1:34 PM ET
By Alex Scarborough | TideNation

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Alabama has found its new offensive line coach in Mario Cristobal, who had been hired last month as the tight ends and assistant head coach at Miami.

"We are very pleased to announce the addition of Mario Cristobal to our staff," Alabama coach Nick Saban said in a statement Wednesday. "He has an outstanding reputation as both a coach and a recruiter. He will be a great fit in our organization and I think our players will respond to his positive attitude and energy."

The move comes less than a year after Cristobal's unexpected dismissal as head coach at Florida International.

Cristobal, who was the head coach at FIU from 2007-12, was one of a handful of candidates that included South Carolina's Shawn Elliott, Central Florida's Brent Key and the Atlanta Falcons' Pat Hill.

Cristobal, 42, replaces Jeff Stoutland, who was recently hired by new Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly.

Cristobal's biggest appeal might be his ties to the South Florida recruiting scene, an area Stoutland was responsible for in two seasons at Alabama. He helped the Hurricanes and head coach Al Golden pull in the 21st-ranked class in the country on signing day, according to ESPN.

Cristobal will be faced with a big challenge at Alabama, rebuilding an offensive line that powered the Crimson Tide to their second consecutive national championship last month. Three starting positions are up for grabs with few experienced players waiting in the wings.

Alex Scarborough | email

Alabama/SEC reporter