Nick Saban on Lane Kiffin: “His issues come from something we’re not asking him to do”


Many want explanations from Nick Saban about the hire that shocked the SEC.

Saban hasn’t been able to explain his decision to hire OC Lane Kiffin, but he briefly told CBSSports today why he hired Kiffin today.

“I’ve known him for a long time,” Saban said after speaking to approximately 4,000 coaches during an hour-long session. “I always thought he was a really good coach. All his issues come from something we’re not asking him to do.”

All of Kiffin’s problems have stemmed from being a head coach. Oakland was a fiasco; he actually had a decent year at Tennessee until he left in such a controversial way, and, of course, things did not go as planned at Southern Cal that ultimately ended in his firing.

But that’s Lane Kiffin the head coach, not the offensive coordinator.

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Kiffin will be kept out of the public eye and away from the media. He won’t actually meet with the media until August, and his problems have stemmed from being a head coach, not a coordinator, QB developer or recruiter.

Once you peel back the shock and awe of it being ‘Lane Kiffin’, the hire shouldn’t actually shock you. He’s proven he can recruit with any coach in the country, and he’ll go anywhere to get a top prospect. He’s proven he can coordinate an offense and call plays at USC as a coordinator and at Tennessee as a head coach. He’s proven he can develop a nobody quarterback in Jonathan Crompton and make him actually serviceable. He’s proved he can set records at Southern Cal with primo talent like what he inherits at Alabama.

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What Kiffin struggled with as a head coach will be suppressed in Saban’s program and under Saban’s tutelage.

Alabama should just hope Kiffin has swallowed his pride and will not let his ego get in the way of winning at Alabama.

Photo Credit: Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports



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  • I think it’s funny when people bring up him in Oakland. Who the hell wins in Oakland? Of the top of their head NO ONE on this board can honestly say they remember the last time Oakland had a winning season. With that being said, I’m excited to see what this will do for the program.

  • Actually, he has had issues with his recruiting too. He really created some ill will in the SEC due to some of his shenanigans while at Tennessee (think Janzen Jackson and Nu’Keese Richardson).

  • Seriously? I guess Saban is totally ignoring the Reggie Bush recruitment debacle (when Kiffin was Recruiting Coordinator along with his other Offensive Coaching duties)…can you say NCAA penalties for USC? And, yes his NCAA infractions at Tennessee came as ‘head coach’ and unfortunately Tennessee is still paying for that awful year. But, to say that Kiffin’s issues came from him being a ‘head coach’ is naive at best and disingenuous at the worst, because he was the fair-haired/can-do-no-wrong leader of the pack as an assistant coach. All I can say is Saban needs to have eyes everywhere if he doesn’t want to see history repeat itself in the ‘Bama program.