Report: Disagreements with Nick Saban led Steve Sarkisian to leave Alabama
Steve Sarkisian is leaving Alabama for the Atlanta Falcons’ offensive coordinator role, and Nick Saban is left with a hole in his coaching staff once again.
The news about Sarkisian’s departure was stunning, especially since Sark was just hired in the full-time role replacing Lane Kiffin prior to the national championship game.
So, what led to Sark leaving Alabama so quickly? SBNation’s Steven Godfrey’s reporting that it was “disagreements” between he and Saban.
Multiple sources have confirmed to SB Nation that after meetings with Alabama head coach Nick Saban following the Championship, the relationship between Saban and Sarkisian deteriorated amid disagreements in “system philosophy,” per one source. Both parties planned to move on following Signing Day last Wednesday, and Saban was aware of Sarkisian’s contact with the Falcons.
One source described the problems between Sarkisian and Saban as “too similar” to the relationship between Saban and former coordinator Kiffin.
“There was an effort on Saban’s part not to repeat the same problem. This wasn’t going to work out,” a source close to Sarkisian told SB Nation.
Godfrey’s report sounds like it was a mutual decision for both Saban and Sarkisian.
Saban is on vacation this week, but he’ll have to get to work soon to hire another offensive coordinator. Coaching speculation was running rampant on Twitter following the news that Sarkisian was leaving the Crimson Tide.
Saban has historically ran a pro-style offense, and it wasn’t until Lane Kiffin was hired that he started utilizing the spread offense and a running quarterback. Spread offenses had given Saban’s defense trouble, and he was willing to adapt and try something new that could improve his program. So, who knows what those philosophical differences were, but it seems clear that the Saban-Sarkisian marriage wasn’t going to work in the longterm.
What would have been interesting to see is if the Falcons job had not been available, would Sarkisian have coached for the Tide this year? Saban and Kiffin made it work for three seasons with multiple SEC Championships.