And the coaching carousel continues. While much clamor has been made concerning the massive amount of firings and hirings occurring in the NFL, coaching changes have been relatively quiet on the college side of the equation. Cue Lane Kiffin.
Wednesday, reports surfaced that Alabama’s offensive coordinator, Doug Nussmeier, was planning to take the same position at the University of Michigan. Thursday, those speculations were confirmed.
Upon learning of the opening present at one of college football’s premier schools, sports pundits, analysts, and fans across the nation began conjecturing about who would replace Nussmeier as Alabama’s new offensive coordinator. In all of the names one could have listed for said position, Lane Kiffin would most likely have been one of the last choices.
Despite the slim likelihood of the situation, CBS Sports reported that Lane Kiffin is scheduled to interview for the open offensive coordinator position at Alabama as early as today.
Kiffin’s name popping up for this position comes as such a surprise due to his lack of success as a coach at both the collegiate and professional levels. Kiffin’s most recent coaching position was at the historic University of Southern California, where Kiffin was fired in the middle of his 4th season after his team was defeated by Arizona State by a score of 62-41. During his 3.5 year stint at USC, Kiffin led the Trojans to a subpar record of 28-15.
Before he was coach at USC, Kiffin coached at the University of Tennessee for one season, going 7-6. And before coaching at Tennessee, Kiffin was fired from his position as head coach of the Oakland Raiders after leading the pro team to an abysmal record of 5-15.
But perhaps the news should not have been much of a surprise, once one looks at the facts. Before taking the position at the Oakland Raiders, Kiffin was the offensive coordinator at USC under current NFL coach Pete Carroll. In his first year as offensive coordinator at USC, Kiffin helped the Trojans break multiple PAC-10 offensive records, such as total offense, first downs, points scored, touchdowns and PATs. That team also put up 50 or more points a school record 7 times. (Albeit, Kiffin was aided by the offensive talents of Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush, and Steve Smith.)
Adding even more credence to Alabama interviewing Kiffin is the fact that Kiffin met with Alabama head coach Nick Saban preceding Alabama’s match-up against Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl in order to discuss Alabama’s offensive strategy for the game.
Lane Kiffin was 'more than just sitting in the room and listening' on his visit to Tuscaloosa weeks ago, per person close to situation.
— Pete Roussel (@coachingsearch) January 9, 2014
Following shock and surprise from fans and media once they learned of this meeting, Saban spoke the praises of heeding the advice of Lane Kiffin, stating:
“There’s only a few people out there that you have an opportunity to do it with. Lane is a really good offensive coach and I have a tremendous amount of respect for him. Just to come in and brainstorm a little bit, get some professional ideas with our guys, is a real positive thing, so I don’t know why there’s any reaction to it to be honest with you. I’m really quite surprised.”
While news that Saban personally likes Kiffin’s professional style offense seemingly cements the fact that Kiffin will be Alabama’s newest offensive coordinator, other options are being explored as well, including former Alabama quarterback Freddie Kitchens.
— Phil Savage (@SeniorBowlPhil) January 9, 2014
There will be critics regardless of who Alabama hires, so logic says hire whoever the best candidate is and let the naysayers naysay. When all is said and done, Kiffin may be the best option available, despite his poor record as head coach and antagonistic personality.
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