Steve Sarkisian officially accepted the Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator position on Tuesday, shocking everyone other than maybe the coaching staff in Tuscaloosa:
“We appreciate all Coach Sarkisian did for our program during his time here. He is an outstanding coach, and we wish him the best in his new role as Atlanta’s offensive coordinator. As always, when we have an opening on our staff, we will use it as an opportunity to go out and hire the best coach available.
Problems between Saban and Sarkisian
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.
Lane Kiffin controversy
Lane Kiffin’s departure wasn’t flowery either, as the FAU head coach had some controversy of his own on his way out the door.
He sent a pretty direct tweet Saban’s way:
During an ESPN interview as the news broke of Kiffin’s departure before the National Championship game, Saban detailed problems leading up the team’s Peach Bowl game against Washington (per Business Insider):
“I think the way we went about the last game, whether it was the preparation, the practice, being able to focus on what we need to do, for our team, relative to the distractions that occur when you are trying to hire a staff [at FAU], and recruit at another place, and all these types of things,” Saban said. “Hey, Lane did the best he could. It’s a difficult circumstance. We certainly wish him well. We both had a meeting [Sunday] and again this morning, that we thought this would be in the best interest and mutually agreed for both parties to move on.”
ESPN’s Brett McMurphy shared more details on Kiffin’s departure, and it wasn’t pretty.
There’s no doubt Saban is looking for a better relationship moving forward: