How Did Saban Survive The Kiffin Drama? | Bonehead Picks

How Did Saban Survive The Kiffin Drama?

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When you think back on January of 2014, you had to wonder what Nick Saban was thinking when he hired former Tennessee, USC and now Florida Atlantic head coach Lane Kiffin as his offensive coordinator. From becoming the laughing stock when he was hired by Al Davis to lead the Oakland Raiders, in a way you couldn’t help but feel sorry for him. What was most likely the biggest surprise in the SEC in 2009 was when he was brought to Knoxville to replace the legendary Phillip Fulmer.

Okay he didn’t do too bad in his first season, but the way he bolted for Los Angeles afterwards did not leave a good mark at all. Bringing the same staff including his dad who was his defensive coordinator to USC was just as much as a laughing stock at Kiffin was now becoming. Thinking he would pick up where Pete Carroll left off would never be the case since they started off on probation thanks to Reggie Bush.

Imminently after dealing with a mediocre offense and a defense that couldn’t even stop a stray cat, his public embarrassment had run its course at USC.  So why would Saban give someone like Kiffin a second chance after everything he did? You’d think Saban had started to lose his mind handing Kiffin the play calling, and it was totally no secret a lot of fans made fun of this pairing of the odd couple.

Even with a little drama following behind, he still saw some kind of potential in Kiffin, and even when Alabama is known mainly for defense, he helped players like Amari Cooper rewrite the record books offensively. Much enough to where the Crimson Tide won three consecutive SEC Championships including a CFP National Championship, and a 38-3 record to go along with it. Note that Kiffin was no longer with the team after they lost their rematch to Clemson this past season. Saban suggested that he move on with his new team then Steve Sarkisian took over, but only for a short time after being hired by the Atlanta Falcons.

Possibly the only true evidence of drama on the field this past year was the “ass chewing” Kiffin got from Saban. It turns out that during the end of a game against Western Kentucky, Kiffin made a remark saying “dumb players make dumb plays”, in which everyone wearing headphones heard including Saban. That could’ve been the possible sign of Kiffin exiting Alabama afterwards, and the end of whatever drama was left from it.

So how did Saban keep the Kiffin drama down? It’s plain and simple: he learned to control it and Kiffin altogether. Anything negative in press conferences that came up from it, Saban would end it immediately. And from the looks of where Kiffin is now, he seems relieved not to be working under Saban anymore. It wasn’t long he was taking jabs at the SEC and making controversial moves as pulling scholarships from committed players and hiring Art Briles’ son as offensive coordinator. I for one hoped he had learned his lesson, but from the look of things the old Lane Kiffin may be returning. Only this time it is now FAU’s headache, not Saban’s.

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