And he’s a doozy.
Some out there tried to make hay out of Lane Kiffin visiting Alabama bowl practices last month and I guess they were right. Kiffin signed on yesterday to be the Tide’s new offensive coordinator.
Am I thrilled? Not exactly.
On paper, perhaps I should be. After all, we’re adding a coach who has been the head coach of the Oakland Raiders, Tennessee Volunteers and USC Trojans. That would be quite a resume’ – if he had any sort of sustained success at those places.
But that hasn’t quite been the case. He was run out on a rail from Oakland and Southern Cal and left the Vols high and dry after one season. One season, I might add, where he almost never showed maturity and good judgment.
But, also, to be fair, the Raiders organization is a train wreck, USC is suffering mightily through NCAA sanctions and Kiffin was apparently never going to be a long term fit in Knoxville.
So what exactly is the plan for his stay in ‘Bama? I hope his stay entails all sorts of high-flying offensive gadgetry – as long as that gadgetry includes solid offensive line play, very few turnovers, the best run game in the SEC and successfully developing a brand new quarterback, success on the recruiting trail (without getting us kicked by the NCAA) and lots of time away from the media.
Given how Saban handles his coaching staff, this isn’t exactly a stretch hire. Kiffin does have some experience as a head coach and he’s also been around a very successful USC program as an assistant. He’s also walking into the best situation since he left the Trojans back in 2006 to take over the Raiders. Alabama may be breaking in a new quarterback, but otherwise, the offensive side of the ball is stacked with talent.
He’ll also be following in the path of two very successful coordinators before him: Jim McElwain and Doug Nussmeier. These two coaches both made very successful transitions to Alabama and won national championships. Their offenses also performed well statistically. Kiffin will take over and offense that averaged 38.20 points per game and 454.40 yards per contest. Those numbers aren’t tops in the conference, but there not exactly minced meat, either. He’ll have his work cut out for himself to replicate those numbers with a new starter under center.
Who knows? This could be the best match ever made. Saban gets a great recruiter who knows how to call a play or two. Kiffin gets some intense rehab time under the best coach in the game.
On the other hand, it’ll be interesting to see how Kiffin gets along in the long run while working for someone like Saban. He’s been the boss for a while now, so we’ll have to see if he can handle being a worker bee.
Whatever happens, things should be interesting.