Nick Saban Loses Coach Just After Hiring Him As Austin Armstrong Leaves Alabama To Be Florida’s Defensive Coordinator

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I can almost hear Nick Saban:

“I’m getting too old for this (expletive deleted).”

Just when he thought he was done hiring his new assistant coaches ahead of the 2023 football season, the Alabama football coach has an opening. Newly anointed inside linebackers coach Austin Armstrong, 29, got a promotion he couldn’t refuse. He will be the new defensive coordinator at Florida, according to several reports. On3 first reported it.

Austin Armstrong (center) left Nick Saban and Alabama to go work for Billy Napier at Florida. (Getty Images)


Armstrong served as Southern Mississippi’s defensive coordinator in 2021 and ’22. He will join Florida head coach Billy Napier, whom he coached inside linebackers for in the 2020 season at Louisiana-Lafayette. He also served under Napier in 2017 and ’18 as a graduate assistant. Then he became a defensive quality control coach at Georgia in 2019. Armstrong played linebacker at Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Alabama, and graduated from there in 2015.

Alabama Has Had Several Openings This Offseason

“The opportunity to coach at the University of Alabama is a dream come true,” Armstrong said in an Alabama release on Feb. 13. “I have admired what coach Saban has built in Tuscaloosa and the long history of tradition and success the program has enjoyed. I am excited to get to work as we continue the legacy that is synonymous with Alabama football.”

Armstrong accepted the Alabama job in mid-January. It was only made public by Alabama on Feb. 13.

Saban, 71, also just hired offensive coordinator Tommy Rees from Notre Dame and defensive coordinator Kevin Steele from Miami. Multiple coaches turned him down in the hiring process.

Alabama Loses Coach To A Struggling Florida Defense

Armstrong’s move is an obvious promotion that is expected to include significantly more salary. Florida’s opening is just now happening as Napier is reportedly in the process of losing defensive coordinator Patrick Toney to the Arizona Cardinals as a defensive assistant under new coach Jonathan Gannon.

Armstrong will leave a team that went 11-2 overall and 6-2 in the SEC last season, narrowly missing the College Football Playoff. The Crimson Tide finished No. 3 in the SEC and No. 13 in the nation in total defense with 318.2 yards allowed a game. Florida finished 12th in the 14-team SEC and 97th in the nation in total defense with 411 yards allowed a game.

Written by Glenn Guilbeau

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