As 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.”
But 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.”