Lane Kiffin on coaching at Alabama: “I would have done it for free”

ITKAs is custom in the bowl season, for 40 short minutes the gag was removed from Alabama head coach Nick Saban’s coordinators, and Lane Kiffin, as usual, did not disappoint.

But then, the Tide’s offensive coordinator in the midst of his public rehabilitation hasn’t disappointed all season.

Kiffin said working under Nick Saban has been so invaluable to his development as a coach, “I would have done it for free. I would have paid him for it, like most people would.”

lane-kiffinBut the more welcome soundbyte came when asked if he would be back in Tuscaloosa next season.

“Yes. Definitely,” Kiffin said. “I think that we’ve still got a lot of stuff we can do better. We’ll obviously be working with a new quarterback, and that will be exciting. We’ve done that before. To me, that’s always exciting, the unknown. You’ve got a new quarterback to see if we can do this again, to see if we can perform really well.”

On this Black Monday, where NFL coaches from coast-to-coast get the axe, openings are always of interest to former coaches. Though Kiffin’s resume redo may still be in the midst of its makeover. But it’s the chance Nick Saban took on him that has stuck with the Tide’s OC.

“The phone wasn’t ringing a lot (after being fired at USC). That’s the reality,” Kiffin recalled of his time as an unemployed coach. “Regardless of how we all see ourselves in a different view a lot of times than others. I thought, ‘Well, OK, probably not going to get a head coaching job, but it will be easy to get an offensive coordinator job because of what we’ve done before and places we’ve been.’

“And like I said, the phone wasn’t ringing. And he called. And he took a chance. I know he thought a lot about it. Because it wasn’t going to be the popular, necessarily the media hire, as he’s referred to before.”

Kiffin is the 25th highest-paid assistant coach in college football at $680,000 per year in guaranteed pay, according to USA Today’s annual salary database, and is likely due a hefty upon after taking this Alabama offense to the top of the college game. All Kiffin did was take a group of raw, unproven talent with a backup quarterback and mold them into one of if not the most potent offenses in college football in 2014. Thanks to Kiffin, Blake Sims, a former runningback/defensive back/athlete, is the 2nd most prolific QB in the country.

“I do really like the college game because I do like the development of the kids. I like the stories in the game. This Blake Sims story, I’m just hoping we can end it to make it just a great story for all time.

“You don’t really get those in the NFL. It’s more business, obviously. So I do like the college game better because of that.”


(Follow ITK on Twitter for Bama news, commentary and smack.)

35 Comments

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  1. 1
    nope

    It’s a crazy trip, and he gets a rap for the wrong reasons when it could have easily been the opposite.

    As a result, Alabama gets the best deal in the country dollar-for-dollar.

    For example, Lane Kiffin helped USC win a national title and a Heisman as their OC. It was enough for UT to pay him the big bucks for the big job, and it was still enough for USC to pay him more big bucks for his dream job, not to mention the money the Raiders convinced him to go pro with.

    Now he’s back at OC in college football.

    Only now, people speculate on whether or not he’s any good as a coach of any kind.

    Actually, instead, many people speculate any of Alabama’s success isn’t due to Kiffin at all. They say it’s because of Saban, or recruiting, or just having the talent there, or the schedule, et. al.

    Truth be told, any other season and Kiffin would have already been offered a head coaching job before Alabama had a chance.

    Any other history and Kiffin would have a head job offer with a huge salary increase after this year, too.

    But no. Instead, Alabama gets to keep him and at the best price in the sport.

    It’s brilliant, and Kiffin isn’t the only one loving it.

  2. 2
    Hunter Ford

    Nope

    How much longer do you expect Saban to coach? Could Kiffin be the next HC? It really has been an amazing season, regardless of how the Sugar Bowl and or NC game turn out

    • 3
      nope

      No.

      Sorry, Kiffin won’t be the “next” head coach at Alabama.

      I don’t expect Kiffin to be around that long. In other words, I expect Saban to keep coaching and Kiffin will get a job offer he can’t refuse before then.

      Otherwise, Alabama would have to pay him a lot more to keep him. And who knows, maybe they will do that? He’d be happy, I’d be happy, it would be great for everyone at the Capstone.

      Saban I don’t think will quit before he’s 70. If he does, it will be for the right reasons like family. It’s hard to relate to a guy like that who is so defined by what he does. I can’t. And he wouldn’t be happy not coaching. So he’s going to coach as long as he wants to and as long as he thinks he’s capable of doing it at an elite level.

      Smart wants the Georgia job. I’m not sure what else he would leave for. But Kiffin (and Muschamp, for what it’s worth) is worth head coaching money and will likely get a job within a few years.

      I still think Dabo Swinney might be Alabama’s follow-up coach to Saban.

    • 4
      nope

      And you’re right, it’s been an amazing season.

      But think about Kiffin’s future and Alabama’s future.

      This season was great with talent we know and players Kiffin helped develop.

      What about the players Kiffin helps recruit? They’re already showing up.

      This year still feels a bit like an anomaly. We are fortunate to be in the playoff, even if we are one of the best teams regardless. But my guess is the next few years won’t feel like an anomaly; they will feel like providence, and Kiffin will (eventually) be the undisputed catalyst.

  3. 5
    Hunter Ford

    I agree Saban will probably be around for the foreseeable future

    I do really envy the “next” coach. It will be a tough job

    • 7
      nope

      Or it might actually work.

      I mean, can you imagine if Kirby Smart sticks around long enough? He’ll get the job if he wants it and he’s still around. He’ll have earned it, and we might not see too much difference in performance, at least in terms of possibility.

      Look, Saban is the best coach in the country, but it’s gone beyond that. He’s a living legend. He’s a brand. He’s not “just” a coach, like any other coach would be who replaces him. Saban was just like them at one point, and it took him a few years at Alabama to get past that, too. I don’t think anyone will reach that level of performance, but they might be able to replicate his level of success on the field closely enough that Alabama fans would be thrilled.

      Smart may be that guy. Who knows? Recruiting mystique and reputation is something Saban has and nobody else can buy. You just can’t, even if you’re the next head coach at Alabama and you worked with Saban for two decades and six national titles.

      That’s why you have to enjoy Saban. The time is now. The team this week is the Ohio State University. For all I know about life and living, this might be Saban’s last game. Once he’s gone, it’s too late, and it will never, ever be this good again no matter what the W-L records look like. Enjoy Nick Saban being the best coach in college football and putting W’s against elite competition for this history books, like the Buckeyes in NOLA this Thursday night. Roll Tide.

  4. 10
    #1 Tide Fan

    Hey ITK Happy New Year!! I was watching the TAM & W. Virginia. game when I witnessed an assistant coach from TAM striking an opposing player as in ‘sucker punch’. I have heard that the coach wasn’t allowed back on the field for the second half. Now I also saw ol Woody Hayes do the same thing to a Clemson player a few years ago and he lost his job. Do the guys at A&M have any class /character out there? For sure he should lose his job also, there is no excuse for what he did it was so wrong….now maybe I’m too old fashioned but to me that just doesn’t seem right……. RTR

  5. 12
    What?What?

    “Ha ha ha.”

    Enjoy it while you can.

    You have 10 days.

    *

    Saban has been at Bama eight years. Where does this team rank in ability compared with the others?

    Probably about #7.

  6. 13
    ICMullets

    I bet there are many coon hounds with broken ribs today. I bet there are a lot of Crystals and Mistys and Tinas who were beat last nite. Roll Tide Mullets, you and Winston are eating humble pie today. Cannot think of a more deserving pair to be taking it in the corn hole.
    WDE

  7. 14
    ICMullets

    Hey ITK,
    An open letter to the MulletU. The most cheating, athlete paying, sidewalk “I bought a hat at WalMart” fan base, tire smelling University on the planet. Yes UAT smells like burning asphault because of a tire plant near it which is similar to ITKs pussy smell.

    Hey fag, did your team lose to Ohio State and esophagus spasm Meyer? I thought Saban ruined him and made him run to the Big 10? What happened little fag? Did Tatoo the hate coach get ran over? Where’s that big fat mouth of yours, asshole? Jameis and the entire Mullet nation eating humble pie is the best Christmas gift I could have prayed for. Now both MOST classless and undeserving can’t even play for all the marbles cause they got BEAT DOWN!!!

    • 15
      Pete4tide

      @ICMullets: First of all, your vagina is showing.

      Second: I believe that your high school coach was all that got exposed on New Years Day. If you think for a minute that having Boom on staff is gonna make Gus’ stupid trickery offense look good and/or competent against teams that aren’t Div. II, you are smoking something a lot stronger than burning tires.

      Third: Your dumb ass has never been to Tuscaloosa, or you would know it doesn’t smell like a tire plant, it smells like chemicals. There has never been a tire plant smell in Tuscaloosa, but it did smell like a giant fart from the paper plant for most of my childhood.

      I don’t know where you get your information, but most of us with University of Alabama ties considered this team to be extremely fortunate to have made the playoffs this year. I was very nervous about tOSU and their “third string” QB that was a starter just last season. I can only imagine what he could have done to the Boog’s middle school defense, but that opportunity wasn’t there for Boog U, was it. They were playing a crappy opponent in a second tier bowl game stuck in the middle of the day. It will be a long time before AU gets to play in a post-season game that actually means something against a quality opponent. And they will likely get beat like a trailer park whore (you know what that is, right – one of your relatives) when they do actually make it to a real game in about another 50 years or so.

      Have fun in the middle of the SECw for the next decade or two. Bama will likely be contending for another chance at the championship next season.

      • 16
        buckybuckeye

        No, it was Saban that was exposed, not Malzahn. Malzahns calling card is his offense which performed well in the bowl game and in nearly every game this season including putting 44 points and 600+ yards on Alabama. The problem was the defense; which is NOT Malzahns forte.

        On the other hand defense is what Saban is known for. And last night they were exposed by a 3rd string QB and a B10 team. They had over 500+ yards of offense and rushed for 281 yards. Alabama couldnt stop them. You can make the excuse that Alabama had 3 turnovers, but so did Ohio St.

        And Bama fans cant use the “we didnt want to be there” excuse either.

        THE Ohio St beat that ass. Meyer is now the #1 coach in the nation. Saban can have the #2 spot….for now. I think he’ll continue to slide after a 3-4 loss season next year.

          • 18
            buckybuckeye

            Sorry but even if Ohio St loses the NC game it doesnt diminish the win over Alabama or the B10 champ beating the SEC champ with a back-up QB. Or Meyer over Saban. Buckeye fans get to celebrate this a lot longer than 10 days.

          • 20
            #1 Tide Fan

            Enjoy the moment while you can guys1 Cause to use a phrase a famous man uttered… We’ll be back” and that my friend you can take to the bank. Us Bama fans will always consider the Tide a great team, hot perfect but still great none the less and we’ll be back up in the top ten polls this coming season Can ya say Roll Tide Roll!! with feeling?/

        • 21
          pete4tide

          Sorry, @bucky, but it wasn’t Gus’ defense that lost the game for them, it was his dippsy-doo high school offensive play calling that lost the game in overtime.
          Bama has had corner issues all season, and yet, there they were in the playoffs. And I can guarantee that tOSU would have had a much more dominating season – a la Tennessee the last half of the season – had they gone to Jones sooner this season. He turned out to be much more of an offensive force than anyone gave him credit for.
          Did Urban have Bama’s number this year? Heck, yeah. TOSU took advantage of every one of Bama’s weaknesses both offensively and defensively. Do any of us Bama fans understand what in the world both Saban and Kiffin were doing with the offensive play calling? No clue. Seemed like we could have run the ball all night long without having to keep going back to a passing game that just wasn’t going to work. It would have prevented at least two of the turnovers on Bama.
          But, as I said before, let’s see who can sustain their success. As I write this, Bama has seven – SEVEN – five- star recruits committed, and twice that of 4 stars. Urban is a good coach. He knows how to recruit and coach up players, but he’s not in a conference – yet – that historically beats up one another through the season and then has an uphill battle in the offseason. While I’d love to see Alabama in the championship game this year, it wasn’t their time. Do I think that Bama will be in the conversation next year? Oh, yeah, and likely for several years after that. While I don’t consider tOSU to be a flash in the pan like the Boogs, their ability to sustain success over several seasons has yet to be proven in the current age.

          • 22
            buckybuckeye

            Actually it was the defense that lost Auburn the game, not the offense. The offense performed well scoring 31 points. Generally when a team scores 30 or more points they win the game over 95% of the time. The defense gave up 400 rushing yards. That’s not on the offense. That’s clearly on the defense.

            In fact, looking at Auburn this season they lost 3 games in which they scored at least 30 points. The FSU game last year makes that 4 losses in that manner in the last 14 games. Prior to that Auburn had only 3 such losses in their HISTORY. Anyone with any football sense can see offense is not and was not Auburns problem this year. It was clearly the defense.

            And this is Ohio Sts 4th NC game in 13 years. I think Ohio St has more than proven they can sustain success. And the B10 did very well against that much-celebrated SEC which honestly tanked in the bowl season and was only saved by the East teams playing weak and mediocre teams in their bowls. Ohio St has a much better shot at making the NC game next season than Alabama does. We’ve got QBs. Does Alabama? And as far as recruiting goes Ohio St consistently lands top 5 and 10 classes too. And they just proved on the field that they’re just as good (and actually better) as Alabama’s classes.

          • 23
            The Conduit

            I wouldn’t expect you to know, or care, about Alabama football, but if I tell you the answers to your questions you’ll cry “us against the world.”

            Look up Alabama’s QB roster. Go on. It’s easy. We know what TOSU has. We’re football fans rather than cult fanatics. Way to represent the Buckeyes, ironically who wouldn’t even be in the national title conversation this year without Alabama being the best team in the nation two Alabama national titles ago to trigger the playoff in the first place.

            Then again, a college football fan would know that anyway.

          • 24
            buckybuckeye

            So we have Alabama to thank for the playoffs? This is why the rest of the country laughs so hard at you guys. You think the cfb world revolves around you. Fact is you were very lucky in several of those title years. You got to play Texas without their quarterback making that a much easier game that you still almost lost. And then you play for a title without even winning your division or conference. This season proved what everyone already knew. There is good football outside of the SEC. Alabama was the 4th best team out of the 4 that made the playoffs. Oregon and FSU would have beaten you. Ohio St did it and this team wasn’t expected to compete for the NC until next season.

            Your run is over. No more sneaking in and getting to play lame duck teams. You have to face real competition for titles now.

          • 26
            nope

            “So we have Alabama to thank for the playoffs?”

            Um, you do realize that’s not what I said, right? I get that you are taught an “us against the world” mindset at tOSU, but I didn’t say what you’re judging me (and an entire fanbase?) for.

            Remember 2010?

            Of course you don’t.

            Alabama was the best team in the country. Or you can fill in the blank here with why you think Oklahoma State was better, but the playoff was created to put OKState in the playoff, not to keep Alabama out of it in 2010. And yes, the result of that season was the playoff, in spite of Alabama being arguably the best team in the country.

            And that IS my point, so listen closely before making cult judgments on an entire fanbase. tOSU is the best team in the country this year. Without Alabama putting an exclamation point on the 2010 season, nobody would be suggesting tOSU is the best college football team in 2014.

            Yes, Alabama was lucky in some of the title-winning seasons. But that’s not unique. I mean, you’re an Ohio State fan—-tell me there wasn’t some luck involved with OSU getting anywhere near the national title this year. The playoff format was a gift to us all, but none more than tOSU.

            Talk about luck.

            Suggesting Alabama couldn’t have beaten Colt McCoy is one thing, but insisting it was all luck in the first place is misguided, almost cult-like.
            Then suggesting not winning a conference title but ignoring what they did win….in a season where tOSU is playing for a national title with ZERO undefeated teams? Do you remember the score of that title game, by the way? Or the margin of victory of that Alabama team? Or who you think the “real” champion was?
            Because you haven’t thought about it. Try it. We got the playoff BECAUSE of that season, but what if we had it FOR that season? Think about it, then let me know who you think wins the national title AND who you think is the best team that year. You focus on the negative UNLESS it’s for tOSU; it’s kinda gross, even if it is characteristic of tOSU culture.

            But when you say things like Alabama’s “run is over” and “sneaking in” before you cite OSU’s 3rd-string QB getting them to the national title, that tells me everything I need to know about how much you don’t know about Alabama and the sport of college football. It’s kinda silly. You make it seem like Blake Sims was always supposed to be Alabama’s salvation, the best QB Alabama could ever hope for, but you just didn’t look at Alabama’s depth chart (and Alabama didn’t need to dig into it like tOSU did, who now has to lose a few QB’s the way Alabama did).

            “Ohio St did it and this team wasn’t expected to compete for the NC until next season.”
            But none of us expected Alabama to compete for it this year either. Your bias instead tells you that’s just Alabama fans making excuses, even though you’re using the exact same reasoning (for a one-score difference, no less)?

            tOSU is the best fundamental football team in the country in 2014. We knew there was good football outside of the SEC, too (who here said there wasn’t?).

            Only difference is you can’t see the good football in the SEC. Alabama is one of the best. And tOSU is better this year. It’s a shame you’re taught to turn it into something much worse. It clouds your vision and distorts your judgment on what otherwise could be seen as the luckiest (or, at best, coincidental) national title run since the 1990’s.

            And they might still lose, even though they’re a better fundamental football team.

            I watched a ton of tOSU this year. They were fun to watch (no “class-less” tweets from Jones this year, either) and characteristically good—-the VT game was the outlier, not the reason. I don’t understand why SEC teams like Alabama don’t get the same nod from tOSU fans, but the answer seems to be that you simply didn’t watch. I probably watched a lot more tOSU this year than you watched Alabama, but that’s because I love the sport. It’s not an excuse. There’s no double-meaning, and yes, we do expect more from Alabama the next two seasons, especially after seeing what the coaching staff did with this year’s squad.

            Call it excuses. I call it football.

            You know, it’s kinda funny, I don’t even think most tOSU fans like you even realize how fundamentally good this tOSU team is (and please don’t suggest I’m saying that just because Alabama lost to tOSU). They can’t believe they beat the SEC. They act like nobody gave tOSU a chance, “us against the world” and all that, but it simply wasn’t true. The win being over Alabama makes it more important to gloat over somehow because Alabama has been the team to beat for so long. For the sake of the sport, Alabama could have beaten tOSU but I don’t think that’s a better result. I’m afraid even if tOSU does beat Oregon people still won’t recognize how good this tOSU team is, least of all fans like you.

          • 27
            pete4tide

            @nope: Give up on this guy. buckybuckeye isn’t a tOSU fan at all, he’s an alter for one of the hundreds of Boog fans that crowd this site to see if anyone is talking about their team. I can’t see how anyone who is a true tOSU fan would be so ignorant about the game and its history. bucky also seems to know an awful lot about Alabama football to not be either a Boog fan, or is just trolling to see if anyone can figure him out. I’m pretty sure that I’ll just ignore his posts from this point on – not likely to see much else from him anyway. As for tOSU, we’ll see. Maybe they show us something in the championship game, maybe they just got all into last Thursday’s game because it was Bama. It will be a “strength against weakness” game for both teams, as they both seem to have remarkable QBs and good offense, with defensive schemes that keep them in the game. This could be a really good game for a championship, unlike the last 3 or 4, where one team was obviously much better than the other.

          • 28
            nope

            Absolutely tOSU went after it because it was Alabama. You don’t go full-tempo including with trick plays with 30 seconds left in the first half knowing you get the ball back in the second half if you’re not going for it.

            But that’s the difference.

            Ohio State fought to win, and Alabama once again fought not to lose. Alabama got away with it a few times this year, and I don’t think Saban’s strategy is completely wrong or irrelevant, but that’s what everyone brings against Alabama. It’s not the same MO as anyone else, but I’m not sure what it takes for Saban to take that to heart.

            That’s not to say tOSU isn’t the outright better team, and they certainly were in the Sugar Bowl, no QB film and Alabama injuries stacking up (again) notwithstanding.

            But that was characteristic of both teams this year. I watched nearly every game for both teams this year. tOSU looked like they did all season, albeit with the addition of an even better QB with even less tape. Alabama had injuries in every game and this one was no exception. Alabama fought not to lose rather than fighting to win. The outlier for tOSU was the Virginia Tech game; it was the only game that they looked different in all season. For Alabama, the outlier was the Texas A&M game rather than the two losses.

            I don’t care if buckybuckeye is real or not. I have enough friends in Ohio, but even without that I’m sure most Alabama fans have heard it all. Alabama is done, Saban is a has-been, Urban is the “new,” the SEC’s reign is over, Alabama has an idendity crisis, etc.

            None of it’s true. Bottom line, tOSU, Alabama and
            USC are all in line to be dominant for the forseeable future. Alabama’s idendity crisis was already solved in recruiting last year…with players who mostly didn’t play this year. It’s not rocket science by any means, but don’t ever expect most fans to have any idea, especially when it involves that all-too-rare Alabama loss. Roll Tide.

  8. 29
    ICMullets

    Pete4Tide
    I wouldn’t even bother being on this shit blog site if ITK would write about his own stinky team, but he has to write more about Auburn, Texas A&M, Ole Miss etc more than his own team usually in a negative light. So why the F*** would any other SEC fan want Alabama to win, just to hear the same old chest out “Wal Mart” hat wearing Gump to talk smack about how great Bama is, “know what I’m saying man?” statement…
    Malzahn will beat the absolute dog shit out of your crappy team next year. Saban is on his way out. He is uninterested in coaching, apparently doesn’t need a trophy now to be considered a winner, and is way overpaid.
    Your fan base is the worst in the nation and I am so glad your fan base and Jameis Winston must STFU and eat humble pie. Blowtide, bloody cunt.

  9. 30
    ICMullets

    CrimsonTide refers to ITKs clot laden menstral exodus (bloody cunt). Nah nah na nah na!!!! Faggot Gumps lost!!! Hey Ohio St. just beat the hell out of you!!!

    How does that feel, pussies?

    • 32
      pete4tide

      Yeah – you’ve got him pegged, Conduit. This alter just suddenly popped up Friday to make noise about Bama’s loss to tOSU, completely forgetting the curb stomping the Boogs got at the hands of Wisconsin.

      Hey, Peach – really got to hand it to Gus in the overtime period. He almost fooled one of the Wisconsin cheerleaders with that middle school offensive playcalling. I don’t know which was more frustrating for their fans – Gus trying to dipsy-doo his way through the OT period, or Kiffin just refusing to stick to a successful run game.

      And, Peach – ITK really appreciates your repeated returns to this site. He’s counting on folks like you to keep the revenue flowing!

    • 33
      Indiana Vol

      BWAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA……..!!!

      Love it that INBRED U lost to a B10 squad!! What happened to #16?

      When are the Bammer TURDS going to start sqawking about 2015? Oops; they already have. Just a note for the Inbred U crowd. Hope you enjoyed the wins over a down Tennessee, because those days are OVER and the Vols will be looking for some serious payback over the next several years.

      By the way, Bahr – Denny’s is a cesspool and smells like $hit!!

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