Lane Kiffin Needs to Be Quiet in Return to Southeastern Conference

By Tim Letcher

Lane Kiffin is returning to the Southeastern Conference. That sentence was tough to type, but the fact is, Kiffin was hired as the new offensive coordinator for the Alabama Crimson Tide on Friday.

The move came after Alabama’s former offensive boss, Doug Nussmeier, took a similar position with the Michigan Wolverines.

Kiffin, who had been brought in to advise head coach Nick Saban during Alabama’s bowl preparations, is known as a bright offensive mind. However, Kiffin is also remembered in SEC country as a coach who rubbed virtually everyone the wrong way. During his 14 months as head coach of the Tennessee Volunteers, he seemed to be on speed dial with SEC commissioner Mike Slive, as Kiffin repeatedly broke, or came close to breaking, several league and NCAA rules.

While it seems like an odd fit to have Kiffin working with Saban, the marriage could prove to be fruitful. First of all, Saban must have made it clear to Kiffin that his job was to mold the offense and call plays, not to be in the media or making himself, or the program, look silly. No one has ever questioned Kiffin’s ability to recruit, call plays and develop players. He will be asked to do that at Alabama, and will not have to speak to the media or boosters, which is probably good for all parties involved.

Another place where Kiffin can help is in the development of Alabama’s next quarterback. With A.J. McCarron now gone, Blake Sims, David Cornwell and others will have a shot at the job. It will be Kiffin’s job to settle on one of them as the starter, and to mold that player into someone that can help the Tide move the ball effectively against powerful SEC defenses.

If Kiffin can focus on the things he has been hired to do rather than all of the peripheral junk, he can be successful in Tuscaloosa. And that is what Saban is hoping will happen.

Tim Letcher is a contributing writer for and a member of the Football Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter @TimLetcher , on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.


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