Report: Steve Sarkisian Left Alabama Amid Disagreements With Nick Saban

    Steve Sarkisian has left Alabama for the NFL's Atlanta Falcons. The former Crimson Tide offensive coordinator's relationship with head coach Nick Saban reportedly became strained.

    February 7, 2017

    Steve Sarkisian has left Alabama for the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons. The former Crimson Tide offensive coordinator’s relationship with head coach Nick Saban reportedly became strained.


    Perhaps one game was all Nick Saban and Steve Sarkisian needed for both parties to realize that the future wasn’t going to be bright offensively for Alabama in 2017 and beyond.

    Sarkisian left the Crimson Tide program on Tuesday, choosing to become the new offensive coordinator with the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons after previous OC Kyle Shanahan accepted the San Francisco 49ers head coaching job. Sark had been named Alabama’s full-time OC after the team’s win over Washington in the Peach Bowl, which was Lane Kiffin’s final game running the Tide offense. Kiffin is now the head coach at Florida Atlantic.

    Despite being newly named to the OC post at ‘Bama, Sark wasn’t long for Tuscaloosa despite Saban defending the offensive play calling in the College Football Playoff national title game loss to Clemson.

    According to an SB Nation report, the relationship between Sark and Saban soured based on disagreements in “system philosophy” following the national championship game. Another source said the problems between the two parties were “too similar” to the relationship between Saban and Kiffin.

    Both parties were actually expected to move on following National Signing Day last Wednesday. With Saban’s knowledge about Sark’s contact with the Atlanta Falcons, it’s safe to assume that a successor to Sark will be named much sooner rather than later, as Saban was in the know and preparing to turn the offense over to somebody else.

    Mike Locksley, who was brought into Alabama as an offensive analyst ahead of last season before being added to the coaching staff this past January, is a strong candidate to be promoted from within to keep the offensive flow as familiar as possible. While names such as Chip Kelly and Mark Helfrich have been bandied about, would Saban consider bringing someone in from outside of the program for such a high-profile position?

    MORE: Who Will Nick Saban Tab As Next Crimson Tide OC?

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