There are several different story lines that will follow Alabama football throughout the 2014 season. Hopefully, we’ll take a look at those as the off-season turns into the pre-season.
Two of the most talked about and most anticipated, though, are replacing AJ McCarron and replacing Doug Nussmeier. McCarron’s replacement hasn’t quited been decided yet, but Nussmeier’s has: Lane Kiffin.
The questions surrounding Kiffin abound. How will he co-exist with Nick Saban? How will he fit into the staff? Is he a jerk? Can he keep his mouth shut? How long will he last?
Those are all good questions and we’ll hear them a bunch.
The consensus from outsiders is that he is petulant, protected and has lived his life with a golden spoon in his mouth. Some of that may be true, but I don’t buy the whole story. Kiffin may have been given the benefit of the doubt at certain times – perhaps because of his father, but he’s still been the head coach of the Oakland Raiders, Tennessee Volunteers and USC Trojans. Whatever his role, he also played a significant role on Pete Carroll’s dynasty at Southern Cal.
Like his personality or not, that adds up to significant experience and when you have a chance to add a coach with a resume like Kiffin’s to you staff, you have to take a look. Saban did and apparently he like what he saw.
As noted here, I think Saban brought Kiffin on board for three reasons:
1) I agree with Rick above. Recruiting is king.
2) I think Saban was looking for a more aggressive play caller than Nuss. Part of that, IMO, is being able to maintain execution of a game plan when Saban is scalding you during a game. Many believe Kiffin has the personality to handle that. We will see, I guess.
3) Nuss took some heat last year for under utilizing a couple of talented players (e.g. Henry and OJ Howard). I’m sure Saban expects better use of a talented roster.
Yes, we had a rebuilding offensive line last year, but, overall, the offense under performed, especially during key stretches. In my opinion, that’s ultimately why Nuss is at Michigan this year. I believe Saban wanted to add some swagger and aggressiveness to an already talented offensive team and he thinks Kiffin can get this done.
I hope he’s right.
I’m sure we’ll be talking about this quite a few more times as the season nears.