Former Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin won’t say whether he thinks his departure cost the Crimson Tide a national championship.
Kiffin’s unexpected exit left the Tide in a tough situation heading into the title game against Clemson. But the new FAU coach told Fox Sports’ Clay Travis that he’s not sure the outcome would have been different if he had still been on Alabama’s staff.
“I don’t know that,” Kiffin said. “There’s no way to know that. (Steve Sarkisian) was put in a very difficult situation. Whatever it was, a week, eight days, or whatever, and now all of a sudden you’re calling the game. … If you tried to figure that out, you’re talking about one play.”
Kiffin has said it was his decision to leave before the title game, and that head coach Nick Saban didn’t force him out. Both coaches said Kiffin had trouble juggling his new responsibilities at FAU with preparing for the Peach Bowl against Washington.
Sarkisian took over play-calling against Clemson after spending most of the season as an analyst for the Tide. Alabama scored more than 30 points against the Tigers, who had shut out Ohio State the week before. However, Clemson outscored Alabama 21-7 in the fourth quarter en route to a 35-31 win.
Sarkisian, like Kiffin before him, drew criticism for failing to run the ball effectively with a lead. He eventually left to become the offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons.
But Kiffin remained silent on whether things would have been had he been calling the plays in that final game.
“If it would have been different, and had I been there, who that have meant we would have won? If that is the case, I don’t know that,” Kiffin said.