Steve Sarkisian has left Alabama to become the offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons. The news was first reported by Huffington Post sports columnist Jordan Schultz, and later confirmed by the team.
Nick Saban's statement:
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.
Sarkisian spent the 2016 season as an analyst at Alabama and had been announced as the Tide's new offensive coordinator for the 2017 season. That plan moved up a game when Lane Kiffin was abruptly dismissed after Alabama's Peach Bowl victory over Washington. Sarkisian called plays in Alabama's 35-31 College Football Playoff championship loss to Clemson.
The Falcons are looking to replace Kyle Shanahan, who was named the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers on Monday. Quarterbacks coach Matt LaFleur is also a candidate to become the Los Angeles Rams' offensive coordinator.
Alabama wide receivers coach Billy Napier, a longtime Saban lieutenant with previous play-calling experience, recently left the staff to become the offensive coordinator at Arizona State. Mike Locksley, the former New Mexico head coach who spent the 2016 season alongside Sarkisian as an analyst, was recently promoted to Alabama's full-time coaching staff and also has previous play-calling experience.
Of course, Saban could shop the offensive coordinator job outside his crimson walls and attract a who's who of possible options. Four of Saban's five offensive coordinators in Tuscaloosa are now either FBS head coaches (Major Applewhite, Jim McElwain, Kiffin) or an NFL offensive coordinator.
A certain former Oregon head coach is available.
Stay tuned to the The Scoop for the latest.