Now that Lane Kiffin is once again a head coach, he had a responsibility to take care of Thursday — speaking at C-USA media day.
It’s no surprise the new Florida Atlantic coach made mentions of Alabama during his various sessions throughout the day, after spending the past three seasons as the Crimson Tide’s offensive coordinator.
Here are the five most interesting things that Kiffin said about the Tide:
Kiffin learned how to be a ‘CEO’ from Nick Saban
Alabama head coach Nick Saban didn’t have to call plays on offense when he had Kiffin on his staff. Kiffin is known for his offensive prowess, so that responsibility was dealt to him.
However, Kiffin won’t be calling the plays for FAU this season. He’ll leave that to his new offensive coordinator, former Baylor OC Kendal Briles.
That’s something straight out of the Saban playbook, as Kiffin even said that he learned from the Tide coach’s ability to be a “CEO,” according to Matt Stanford of watchstadium.com.
— Matt Stanford (@Stanford_Video) July 20, 2017
Kiffin thinks Saban is one of the greatest coaches of all-time
How could you not? Saban has won five national championships, four of which have come at Alabama since 2009. He’s won seven SEC titles and is a two-time AP National Coach of the Year.
So it wasn’t surprising to hear Kiffin refer to Saban as “one of the best coaches in the history of college football” during the C-USA Kickoff Show on Facebook.
“I definitely have changed,” Kiffin said on the show. “I would be naïve not to, spending three years with one of the best coaches in the history of college football. To learn from him, and to take different things from him and add to what you had before.”
Kiffin believes the marriage with Saban worked
Was Kiffin, a former head coach at Tennessee and USC, able to co-exist with Saban on Alabama’s staff? Kiffin thinks Tide fans should just look at the accolades from the past three years to get the answer to that question.
“It was a great time. It really was. People say, ‘Well, did the marriage [with Saban] work?’ Or, ‘Did the whole thing work?'” Kiffin said, according to USA Today Sports’ George Schroeder. “Three years ago when that hire was made, if you’d said together we’re gonna go 40-3 while we were there, and win three straight SEC championships, three straight SEC offensive players of the year, a Heisman winner, a Biletnikoff winner and a national championship, I think every Alabama fan would have said, ‘That’s a pretty good deal, where do I sign up?’”
Kiffin wishes he could have been at national championship game
Kiffin wasn’t around when Alabama lost to Clemson in last year’s College Football Playoff championship game. He had already accepted his new position at FAU, so Steve Sarkisian took over as offensive coordinator for one game.
But after a remarkable season, Kiffin wishes he had been there for the ending, he told SiriusXM College Sports Nation.
“Do I wish I was there for that game? Sure I do,” Kiffin said. “It’s very hard to watch, and obviously a game that’s a one-play game, you’d like to think maybe you could make a difference in that game. What really stood out was when Reuben Foster, Jalen Hurts and Cam Robinson, you see them on a TV screen, walking off that field, after all the work they do.”
Kiffin thinks Alabama has the hardest working players in the country
Kiffin saw first-hand how the Crimson Tide work to be perennial championship contenders. And that doesn’t just happen by accident.
Kiffin told SiriusXM College Sports Nation that he believes Alabama’s success comes directly from the work that is put in.
“No players work harder and are asked to do more than what’s done at Alabama,” Kiffin said. “Those players put in so much time and energy and effort.”