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Alabama hires Cristobal as O-line coach

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) - Alabama has hired Miami Hurricanes assistant and former Florida International head coach Mario Cristobal as offensive line coach.

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Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban announced Cristobal's hiring as assistant head coach on Wednesday, just over a month after Cristobal returned to his alma mater. Cristobal replaces Jeff Stoutland, another former Miami assistant who was hired by the Philadelphia Eagles on Feb. 8.

Cristobal spent the past six seasons as head coach at Florida International, which fired him after leading the program to two bowl appearances and the 2010 Sun Belt Conference title. He was hired as Miami's associate head coach and tight ends coach on Jan. 10.

The Miami native played for two Hurricanes national championship teams from 1988-92, worked there as a graduate assistant and was an assistant coach from 2004-06.

``He has an outstanding reputation as both a coach and a recruiter,'' Saban said. ``He will be a great fit in our organization and I think our players will respond to his positive attitude and energy. This is a very important hire in terms of working with our offensive line and we feel fortunate that we were able to hire a coach of Mario's caliber.''

Cristobal called it an ``incredible opportunity.''

The Tide, which recently won its third national title in four years, must replace All-America offensive linemen Barrett Jones, Chance Warmack and D.J. Fluker. Warmack and Fluker are skipping their senior seasons to enter the NFL draft.

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