As noted in this space, Lane Kiffin coached the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl as if auditioning for another job — even though he actually had another job. Now he gets to devote himself full-time to it. Alabama just announced that Kiffin is leaving the program immediately. Bama still has a rather important game remaining, which tells us how fed up with L’il Kiffy the great Nick Saban had become.
Pete Thamel of SI.com recently accompanied Kiffin on a house-hunting trip in South Florida, where he’ll be head coach at Florida Atlantic. Over the course of that lengthy story, it became clear why Kiffin’s image took a turn for the better while being mostly muzzled as Alabama’s offensive coordinator. Because every time the man speaks for public consumption, he paints himself as an entitled brat.
Kiffin told Thamel that “fun wasn’t a word we use” at Alabama. He griped about how much money he was having to pay in taxes and alimony. He griped about living in Tuscaloosa. The latter problem has just been solved.
Saban was seen grousing toward Kiffin after Alabama’s first three-and-out against Washington. After it took Kiffin what seemed an eternity simply to hand the ball to Bama’s backs and the Crimson Tide had finally taken a 24-7 lead, the Tide got the ball with eight minutes remaining. Kiffin’s first call was a dropback pass, which fell incomplete. That’s where you run it three times and, if 10 yards aren’t forthcoming, you burn off 2 1/2 minutes and punt. Bama burned off 65 seconds. Terrible coaching.
ESPN is reporting that Kiffin was late to many things over bowl week in Atlanta, Thursday’s Media Day included. (He also missed the bus back to the team hotel.) Steve Sarkisian, next year’s coordinator, is already on staff, but you get the impression that Saban would have dumped Kiffin if he’d had to call plays himself.
And you wonder why Power 5 schools were reluctant to make the guy a head coach.