Alabama Crimson Tide: Lane Kiffin Will Benefit From Having New Quarterback

By Tim Letcher

The Alabama Crimson Tide will have a familiar face calling offensive plays this fall. Lane Kiffin, the former head coach of the Tennessee Volunteeers and the USC Trojans, was hired by Nick Saban to be Alabama’s offensive coordinator.

This would seem to be a good spot for Kiffin. He can do the thing he does best, call offensive plays, without having to worry about items that head coaches deal with, like the other side of the ball and the media.

However, Kiffin is not totally off the hot seat, especially in a football-hungry state like Alabama. Each one of Kiffin’s play calls will be scrutinized and many will be second-guessed. That’s just the nature of the beast in Tuscaloosa.

The fact that Kiffin will start his work with a new quarterback (for him and for the Tide) could be a good or a bad thing. It could be good because Kiffin will not have to compete with the “well, we did it this way last year” mentality. He can set the standard of how the offense is going to run on his own.

However, if things go bad for Kiffin, as they did at USC last season, he has not shown the ability to remain calm. Too many times at USC, Kiffin tried to do way too much or not nearly enough in his play calling, which dampended the Trojans’ offense, and became at least part of the reason for Kiffin’s dismissal in the middle of the seaon.

If Kiffin can get his new quarterback to understand and execute his offense, the marriage between himself and Saban could be a great one. But if they offense struggles, Kiffin will once again feel the pressure to make things right. If that happens, Saban is counting on Kiffin performing better under pressure than he did at USC.

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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