New Arizona State offensive coordinator Billy Napier would have you believe otherwise, but Sun Devils head coach Todd Graham probably expects Napier to coach with a bit of a chip on his shoulder this fall.
“I think Billy was pissed because he was passed over [at Alabama for Steve] Sarkisian and all that,” Graham said according to CBS Sports.
When Lane Kiffin left for FAU prior to the College Football Playoffs National Championship Game, Alabama coach Nick Saban promoted Steve Sarkisian from analyst to offensive coordinator. It’s not hard to rationalize that decision. Sarkisian used to be a head coach, and it’s possible he wanted to keep all the other position coaches in their respective spots for the title game. After all, Alabama football is a creature of habit.
But Saban skipped over promoting Billy Napier, his former wide receiver coach, to offensive coordinator a second time when Sarkisian left for the Atlanta Falcons in February. Instead, Saban hired Brian Daboll from the New England Patriots to run his offense.
Whether upset by that or not, Napier isn’t back with the Crimson Tide, as Graham hired him as offensive coordinator for Arizona State. Although he speaks highly of his opportunities at Alabama, Napier has to be pleased to be an offensive coordinator once again. He held that position at Clemson for a couple years, starting when he was just 29 years old, but Dabo Swinney fired him at the conclusion of the 2010 season.
“When you are kind of a fast riser and you continue to slowly get hired at a young age, gaining more responsibility, then the rug gets pulled right out from underneath, it is a humbling experience,” Napier said according to CBS Sports.
“I grew more as a coach in a year (at Alabama) than I had in the prior 10 years.”