Quick Friday update: Mario Cristobal, UM's associate head coach and tight ends coach, has interviewed with Alabama for the vacant offensive line coaching job on Nick Saban's staff, according to a source. The story was first reported by InsideTheU.com and confirmed by a source.
Cristobal is one of several candidates who has spoken with Saban. Alabama reportedly was interested in South Carolina assistant Shawn Elliott, but Steve Spurrier said today that he's staying with the Gamecocks. UCF o-line coach Brent Key is also reportedly a candidate.
The Alabama o-line coaching position was previously held by former UM offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland, who left recently to join Chip Kelly's staff with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Cristobal joined UM's staff on Jan. 10 after being fired as head coach at FIU. Cristobal was an offensive lineman at UM and previously was an assistant coach for the Hurricanes.
Cristobal declined to comment Friday evening. He has made Al Golden aware of the interview before it happened.
FRIDAY BUZZ COLUMN
A longtime National League scout made a point about Giancarlo Stanton that we’ll be hearing a lot this season: “With what’s around him in that lineup, why would you pitch to him? He could lead the league in walks. This is really going to test his resolve.”
Marlins executive Larry Beinfest wonders, too: “I’d be lying if I didn’t say it was a concern. It’s something we’ve contemplated in the office. Do we have enough around him?”
Manager Mike Redmond leans toward hitting Stanton third, with Beinfest pointing to Logan Morrison and Justin Ruggiano (13 homers) as options behind him.
Hitting coach Tino Martinez has told Stanton he needs to be more patient and willing to take walks when pitchers pitch around him. Stanton closed last season hitting .290 with 37 homers, 86 RBI and 46 walks in 123 games.
Chatter on some Marlins position players, with full team workouts beginning Friday:
### One critical question is what the two aging ex-Phillies have left. With Juan Pierre in left and Placido Polanco at third, the Marlins will get less power from those traditional power positions than perhaps anyone in baseball: They combined for three homers in 2012.
Pierre, 35, can still hit --- .307 last year (though .190 in 63 at-bats against lefties), .376 away from Philadelphia and .282 with runners in scoring position, which would have been among the Marlins’ leaders. Plus, he had 37 steals.
“He’s like the same JP [of 2003],” Beinfest said, adding his bat speed hasn’t diminished and if does, “he’ll just bunt. He looks awesome.”
### Polanco, given a one-year, $2.75 million deal, said his troublesome back has healed, but at 37, there are concerns. He hit just .200 after the All-Star break (8 for 40) before the back sidelined him, and his .257 average was well below his career mark (.299).
The Marlins would be content if he plays five times a week, but Polanco said he is striving for more. “It seems like he’s always killed us, really a clutch hitter,” Beinfest said.
### The Marlins believe they have two possible starting third basemen on the cusp, with Derek Dietrich (who will start at Double A) generating more buzz than Zack Cox (Triple A). Dietrich has more power and comes off a better year.
### Morrison, unsure if he will be ready for the April 1 opener, had just five hits in his final 43 at-bats, closing at .230, before realizing he needed another knee procedure. Scouts thought he would pound right-handers, but he has hit .257, .249 and .236 in three seasons against them.
His power rose unexpectedly in 2011 (23 homers; one every 20 at bats), then dropped in 2012 (two homers, one every 120 at bats). “It’s way too soon to give up on him,” an NL general manager said. “He’s got a good swing, and he has shown he can hit for power.”
### Here’s the book on new starting shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria: “The glove is spectacular,” Beinfest said. “We had him rated as one of the top defensive shortstops in the minors. His body type is similar to Edgar Renteria’s. The bat is a little behind the glove, but he hit in the minors.”
He hit .312 at Triple A last year and .254 in the big-leagues, but .291 in his final 72 at-bats. He isn’t a patient hitter: four walks in 137 plate appearances.
### Washington’s Davey Johnson and Atlanta’s Fredi Gonzalez raved about catcher Rob Brantly, who aced his 100 at-bat audition, hitting .290. Redmond will work with him on defense, which must improve. He allowed 18 steals in 22 attempts.
### Owner Jeffrey Loria loves Donovan Solano (.295 in 93 games, .302 with runners on), and Solano said the Marlins told him he likely will start at second.
### Chris Coghlan, who has hit .237 the past three seasons after batting .321 as the 2009 Rookie of the Year, will try to earn a backup job in the infield or outfield.
His career “is still salvageable,” Beinfest said. “The Wes Helms pie-in-the-face thing [which caused a knee injury] really set him back.” Unlike Gorkys Hernandez, Coghlan is not out of minor-league options, so he could be sent down to start the season if he doesn't win a job.
FINS, CANES CHATTER
### Packers receiver Greg Jennings, a potential Dolphins target in free agency, told NFL Network: “I wouldn’t mind that at all [signing with Miami]. The weather’s nice. They have an up and coming quarterback and a defense that’s pretty solid and some pieces on offense that are pretty solid.”
### Beyond Wednesday’s oral commitment from Class of 2014 Hialeah quarterback Alin Edouard – who got a call from Penn State Wednesday and whom his coach compares to Vince Young – the Hurricanes also have offered three other local quarterbacks: Class of 2014 players Treon Harris(Booker T. Washington) and Quinton Flowers (Jackson) and Class of 2015 left-hander Torrance Gibson of Plantation American Heritage.
Though Kevin Olsen has a good shot to be Stephen Morris’ multiyear successor starting in 2014, UM might add two local quarterbacks next year. “Flowers is a freak of an athlete, can throw 74 yards, and he and Harris are both high-level BCS guys,” analyst Larry Blustein said. Both like UM.
### UM baseball coach Jim Morris, whose team opens Friday, said he met three times with president Donna Shalala about the athletic director job (before it was filled by Blake James), “but I never thought I would be offered the job. It’s better for me to be the coach. It’s great Blake is A.D.”
Morris, who has taken UM to the College World Series 11 times in 19 seasons(most recently in 2008), said Shalala called him at 8 a.m. the day after UM was eliminated by Missouri State in the 2012 NCAA Tournament and expressed her full commitment to him.
### For those who have asked, UM has not and will not give any thought to self-imposing an NCAA Tournament ban in basketball this season. UM will release NCAA Tourney ticket info on Friday.
### A few Heat-Thunder postscripts from Miami's 110-100 win: Though LeBron James' streak of six consecutive games shooting at least 60 percent ended (barely), he scored at least 30 in his seventh game in a row --- just three short of his career high. And he joins Wilt Chamberlain and Elgin Baylor as the only players to enter the All-Star break with at least seven consecutive games scoring at least 30. Chamberlain was the last to do it, in 1962-63, before James matched that streak Thursday night. Amazing...
LeBron closed with 39 points, 12 rebounds, and 7 assists -- the first player this season to achieve those marks in all three categories in one game. He closed 14 for 24 from the field --- 58.3 percent, ending his streak of games shooting 60-plus percent. "All good things must come to an end," he said afterward, noting he was unaware that a long missed three late in the game put him below 60 percent....
He's now shooting an absurd 69 percent in his last seven games, including 51 for 61 in the paint and 14 for 26 on threes....
What's more, LeBron is now 13-3 all time against Kevin Durant....
LeBron is hardly the only one shooting brilliantly. Chris Bosh is 23 for 30 in the past two games after shooting 10 for 14 Thursday on a 20-point night. And he has double-doubles in three straight games, corraling 11, 11 and 12 rebounds in those contests. Good to see him snap out of his rebounding malaise....
The Heat is 9-1 since Erik Spoelstra held the team's last non-game day practice. That's not entirely a coincidence; players say the rest has kept them fresh for games...
How rare was it for Dwyane Wade to foul out? He has done it only seven times in 10 seasons, the most recent in March 2012.
### Whereas Ray Allen said he hasn’t decided whether to opt out of his Heat contract this summer, Rashard Lewis said he’s “pretty sure” he will not opt out of his two-year, $2.8 million deal.