Well this would have been a dream pairing for college football, but it doesn’t look like it is going to happen.
Steve Sarkisian shocking left Alabama on Tuesday to take the offensive coordinator position with the Atlanta Falcons, forcing Nick Saban to fill the position for the second time in just over a month. In the wake of Sarkisian’s departure, one of the top names rumored for the job was former Oregon head coach Chip Kelly, but Bleacher Report’s Jason Cole is now reporting that Kelly has “no interest” in the position.
Will Kelly apparently out of the picture, it looks like the top candidate for the job could be one of Kelly’s old protege’s: Mark Helfrich. Helfrich was the offensive coordinator under Kelly at Oregon, later succeeding Kelly as the school’s head coach. Helfrich was fired from that position at the end of the 2016 season, but he is still one of the top minds on the market as far as coordinators go.
Saban, Sarkisian clashed prior to departure
According to SB Nation, the move for Sarkisian leaving the Tide had been in the works for nearly a week:
“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.”
Sarkisian was promoted to Alabama’s offensive coordinator just before this year’s national title game, as Lane Kiffin officially left to take the head coaching job at Florida Atlantic. With Sark now gone, Alabama will be on their third offensive coordinator in just over a month.
Falcons coaches surprised
The team announced that they had hired Alabama coach Steve Sarkisian on Tuesday, and the move shocked pretty much everyone in the football world.
Everyone. Including Sarkisian’s now co-workers, as ESPN’s Josina Anderson reported that members of the Falcons staff learned of the move on social media.
It looks like this move developed quickly, so it’s not too surprising that not everyone might have been informed before the news became public. Of course, the staff knowing should be a priority in this situation, and it’s not exactly the best public look for your own coaches to be finding out about staff moves via the media and not the people in the organization.