December 18th, 2013 10:15 AM║ Posted By: John Pennington ║ Permalink
║ Schools: Alabama, Florida, Tennessee
Tags: Alabama, BCS, Lance Thompson, Sugar Bowl
Nick Saban doesn’t understand the hoopla surrounding Lane Kiffin’s visit this week to Tuscaloosa. Alabama’s coach has had other coaches visit his program for gab sessions in the past, so in his view, bringing in the ex-Southern Cal coach for a chat is no big deal.
And he’s right.
There are two places in the Southeastern Conference that might balk at a Kiffin drop-in but Bama isn’t one of them. His one-year stay at the University of Tennessee should preclude the 38-year-old coach from a Knoxville visit. When he left town a students flirted with a riot, a mattress was burned — why? — and someone allegedly called his home and threatened to eat his children. So, no, Butch Jones probably won’t invite Kiffin for a visit.
A few Florida fans would like to see Kiffin take over as offensive coordinator for Will Muschamp’s Gators — again, why? — but after he wrongly accused then-UF coach Urban Meyer of cheating on the recruiting trail, it’s doubtful Lil’ Lane will get an offer from Gainesville.
Alabama? Hell, he didn’t do anything to Alabama. Aside from take an undermanned team to Tuscaloosa in 2009 and lose on a blocked field goal. If not for that last-play-of-the-game block, Bama’s first BCS title under Saban might not have come until later. Saban saw Kiffin’s work up close and personal for one game and apparently came away impressed. For that reason, the coach wonders what’s the biggie?
“Lane is a really good offensive coach, and I’ve always had a tremendous amount of respect for him. Just to come in and brainstorm a little bit to get some professional ideas with our guys is a really positive thing…
I can’t believe there’s been any reaction to it. Just about every year we have coaches come in and do what we call ‘professional development-type things.’ We exchange ideas.”
Saban pointed out that Oklahoma’s staff — the guys his Crimson Tide staff will be up against in the Sugar Bowl — have been in for a visit, too.
One other thing that might make Saban more interested in bringing Kiffin to town than, say, Tennessee or Florida? The young coach made it very clear during his layover in Knoxville that he had a great deal of respect for Saban and his staff. When he joined ESPN’s “College GameDay” crew on the morning of the ’09 Alabama/Florida SEC Championship Game, Kiffin picked Alabama to win. His rationale — Florida had the better players but the Bama team was better coached. Clearly that comment was a shot at Meyer and a nod to Saban.
So we agree with Alabama’s head man on this one. Nothing to see here. Move along.
And remember, Saban didn’t hesitate to bring assistant Lance Thompson back onto his staff after he’d left Alabama to join Kiffin’s crew at Tennessee. If someone can help Saban improve his Alabama program, well, that’s the only thing that matters to the four-time BCS title-winner.
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