Nov 28, 2020; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA;  Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian, acting as head coach during head coach Nick Saban's COVID-19 quarantine, takes the field with the team for warmups at Bryant-Denny Stadium for the Iron Bowl against Auburn. Mandatory Credit: Mickey Welsh/The Montgomery Advertiser via USA TODAY Sports

News Articles

Nick Saban: ‘Marvelous’ Steve Sarkisian ready for Alabama farewell

With Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian about to head off to a prime opportunity at Texas, the Crimson Tide coaching staff will have one last hurrah together when the team faces Ohio State in the CFP National Championship Game next Monday.

Alabama head coach Nick Saban expects nothing less than supreme focus from his entire staff with so much on the line. After all, this is not the first time he has entered a key game with an assistant coach about to head off for a plum opportunity.

“I think you just have to separate yourself and focus on (the task at hand),” Saban said. “… You kind of owe it to the players to give your best, to do your best to help them get prepared for the game so they can play well in the game. That’s how I always felt. I think that’s how Sark feels.”

Having one of his assistants leaving the program is not the only experience Saban has in this arena. He was that departing assistant in 1994 when he was the defensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns under Bill Belichick and was about to take the head coaching job at Michigan State.

The Browns made the playoffs in Saban’s final season at Cleveland, defeating the New England Patriots 20-13 in the wild-card round, before falling 29-9 to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the divisional round.

“We had like five or six games left to play in the season and had a chance to get in the playoffs, which we did,” Saban said of his timetable after landing the Michigan State job. “… Look, if it wasn’t for the players, if it wasn’t for the players at the Cleveland Browns being the best defense, I probably would have never got the Michigan State job.”

In other words, a solid gameplan in the title game is Sarkisian’s best way to show his appreciation for his upcoming opportunity.

From Michigan State, Saban went to LSU, returned to the NFL with the Miami Dolphins and landed at Alabama in 2007. Five of his six national championships have come with the Crimson Tide.

He knows what makes a championship team and in order to do it again, he must get through an Ohio State team that proved it was worthy of a title shot with a 49-28 CFP semifinal victory over Clemson in the Sugar Bowl on New Year’s Day.

Saban had nothing but praise for his opponent one week before the championship game.

“They’ve got a lot of good athletes on defense,” Saban said of the Buckeyes. “They’re physical, they’re athletic, they can run, they play well together. This is just a very talented group.”

And his compliments weren’t just reserved for the Ohio State defense.

“The speed that they have, the way they can stretch the field with the playmakers they have, a quarterback that can run or pass and can make all the throws, it’s just a good all-around team and they have great balance,” Saban said. “I think that’s what makes them very difficult to defend.”

Alabama has more than its share of talent on offense as well, and as the coordinator, Sarkisian will get one more chance to see what he can get out of the group as his second stint with the Crimson Tide comes to a close. He was an assistant in 2016, became the Atlanta Falcons’ offensive coordinator for two seasons and returned to Saban’s staff in 2019.

“Sark has done a marvelous job here,” Saban said. “He’s very well organized. He works very well with all the people in the organization, players and coaches alike. He’s a good play caller on game day. He does a really good job of preparing the players game plan wise for each and every game, and he’s just done a great job.”

–Field Level Media

Field Level Media
Sport Writer & Editor
FLM has a North American focus while tying into regional and hyper-local resources – providing the ability to distribute compelling content through the writing of professional journalists. As the U.S. sports content provider to dozens of digital and print media publishers through strategic partnerships with the likes of Reuters and Nielsen Sports, FLM covers the nuts and bolts with a breaking news desk and game event coverage.

Upcoming Games

Aug 28th, 3:33 PM

Hawaii

UCLA

@

Aug 28th, 3:33 PM

Southern Utah

San Jose State (24)

@

Aug 28th, 3:33 PM

Nebraska

Illinois

@

Aug 28th, 3:33 PM

UCONN

Fresno State

@

Aug 28th, 3:33 PM

UTEP

New Mexico State

@

Sep 1st, 3:33 PM

Jacksonville State

UAB

@

Sep 2nd, 12:00 PM

East Carolina

Appalachian State

@

Sep 2nd, 3:33 PM

LIU

Florida International (FIU)

@

Sep 2nd, 3:33 PM

Weber State

Utah

@

Sep 2nd, 3:33 PM

Southern Utah

Arizona State

@

Sep 2nd, 3:33 PM

Western Illinois

Ball State (23)

@

Sep 2nd, 3:33 PM

North Carolina (18)

Virginia Tech

@

Sep 2nd, 3:33 PM

USF

NC State

@

Sep 2nd, 3:33 PM

UC Davis

Tulsa

@

Sep 2nd, 3:33 PM

Ohio State (2)

Minnesota

@

Sep 2nd, 3:33 PM

Houston Baptist

New Mexico

@

Sep 2nd, 3:33 PM

Eastern Washington

UNLV

@

Sep 3rd, 3:33 PM

Northern Colorado

Colorado

@

Sep 3rd, 3:33 PM

St. Francis-PA

Eastern Michigan

@

Sep 3rd, 3:33 PM

Old Dominion

Wake Forest

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Clemson (3)

Georgia (7)

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Duke

Charlotte

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

The Citadel

Coastal Carolina (14)

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Florida Atlantic

Florida (13)

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Central Michigan

Missouri

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Colgate

Boston College

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Montana

Washington

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Northern Iowa

Iowa State (9)

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Louisiana-Monroe

Kentucky

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Bowling Green

Tennessee

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Fresno State

Oregon

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Eastern Illinois

South Carolina

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Army

Georgia State

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

East Tennessee State

Vanderbilt

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Kansas State

Stanford

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Kent State

Texas A&M (4)

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Akron

Auburn

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Utah State

Washington State

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Southern University

Troy

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Rice

Arkansas

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

NIU

Georgia Tech

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Nevada

California

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Missouri State

Oklahoma State (20)

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

LA Tech

Mississippi State

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Monmouth-New Jersey

Middle Tennessee

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

San Jose State (24)

USC (21)

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Southern Miss

South Alabama

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Northwestern State

North Texas

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Louisiana-Lafayette (15)

Texas (19)

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Wagner

Buffalo (25)

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Baylor

Texas State

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Syracuse

Ohio

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Alabama (1)

Miami-FL (22)

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Duquesne

TCU

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Central Arkansas

Arkansas State

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Norfolk State

Toledo

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

LSU

UCLA

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Arizona

BYU (11)

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Bethune-Cookman

UTEP

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Campbell

Liberty (17)

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Tennessee-Martin

WKU

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Miami-OH

Cincinnati (8)

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Holy Cross

UCONN

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Houston

Texas Tech

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Nicholls State

Memphis

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Massachusetts

Pittsburgh

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Boise State

UCF

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

William & Mary

Virginia

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

South Dakota

Kansas

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Abilene Christian

SMU

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Marshall

Navy

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Oklahoma (6)

Tulane

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

UTSA

Illinois

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

New Mexico State

San Diego State

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Portland State

Hawaii

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Indiana (12)

Iowa (16)

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

West Virginia

Maryland

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Western Michigan

Michigan

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Michigan State

Northwestern (10)

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Lafayette

Air Force

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Montana State

Wyoming

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Oregon State

Purdue

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Temple

Rutgers

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Penn State

Wisconsin

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

South Dakota State

Colorado State

@

Sep 4th, 6:00 PM

Gardner-Webb

Georgia Southern

@