TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — There haven’t been too many press conferences of late in which University of Alabama coach Nick Saban hasn’t been asked bout offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin, and Tuesday was no exception.

“I think Lane has done a fantastic job for us across the board,” Saban said Tuesday evening. “He’s a very good teacher. He has a very good way with the players in terms of how they respond to him. He’s not a confront-and-demand guy, but he has a good personality that they respond well too.

“His willingness to make changes from what he’s always done, because of the personnel that we have, was something that a lot of coaches wouldn’t want to do. They’re going to stay with the system that they know and he certainly did an outstanding job of tailoring the offense to the people that we have.”

But then came the real question, if Saban had seen Kiffin’s speech at the recent Broyles Award banquet, where he was a finalist for assistant coach of the year.

“Coach Saban really, to me, took a chance on me when a lot of people wouldn’t do it and has been phenomenal to me throughout the entire year,” Kiffin said at the podium. “I got asked last night, like I do everywhere, when he’s following me up and down the sideline, right about here (gestures to waist-high while smiling). Oh gosh we’re on TV, could you edit that part out?

“This is why he doesn’t let me talk to media.

“They ask me what does he say when he’s going up and down the sideline behind you. He says, ‘Hey Lane, I love you so much. Thank you so much for coming here. Can you just stop throwing the ball so much and run it some?”

Saban, who makes all assistant coaches off-limits to reporters with only a couple of exceptions, called it humorous. He then had a little fun himself and said that Kiffin definitely got one thing right: “That’s why don’t let him talk to the press.”