Lane Kiffin hired as offensive coordinator at Alabama

Dr. Saturday

Alabama has hired former USC coach Lane Kiffin to be its offensive coordinator.

“We are excited to have Lane join our staff,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said in a statement. “He is an outstanding and creative offensive coach who has great experience both at the college and NFL level. He has a very good understanding of the game and I have always been impressed with what I saw in the games he called. He coaches with a great deal of passion and enthusiasm, and also does an excellent job as a teacher. Lane will be an outstanding addition to our coaching staff and we look forward to him and his family joining us at the University of Alabama.”

He will also coach the quarterbacks.

Kiffin was fired as USC coach after the Trojans embarrassingly lost 62-41 at Arizona State. In that game, The Trojans attempted a makeable fourth and two while trailing by 20 with a halfback pass out of the wildcat formation.

Kiffin had a 28-15 overall record with USC in three plus seasons. In 2012, he voted for his own team as No. 1 in the country in the preseason USA Today Coaches Poll. The Trojans finished the season unranked and lost to Georgia Tech in the Sun Bowl and were 7-5.

Throughout his tenure as USC's coach, the Trojans faced scholarship reductions for NCAA violations while Pete Carroll was in charge. The Trojans were banned from bowl games in Kiffin's first two seasons.

At Alabama, Kiffin will inherit an offense that will have a different quarterback under center. With departing senior AJ McCarron at the helm for three years, the Crimson Tide won two National Championships.

Blake Sims, a senior next year, backed up McCarron this season. Luke Del Rio, the son of Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio, was the third string quarterback as a freshman. They're both possibilities to start in 2014.

Kiffin have a strong running game returning to Tuscaloosa. With the emergence of Derrick Henry in the Sugar Bowl, Alabama will have its top three running backs back next season.

Before becoming the coach at USC -- where he also called plays -- Kiffin was the head coach at Tennessee for a season. While at Tennessee, he accused then-Florida and current Ohio State coach Urban Meyer of shady recruiting tactics. And in doing so he mentioned a recruit by name, which was an SEC violation. He apologized for the comments a day later.

Prior to being the coach at Tennessee, Kiffin was the coach of the Oakland Raiders. Former Raiders owner Al Davis allegedly tried to force Kiffin to resign after his first season and Kiffin was fired four games into his second season.

Kiffin had visited with Saban this December as the Crimson Tide prepared for the Sugar Bowl “to share ideas and exchange ideas … [for] professional development,” Saban said at the time.

“We want to thank the University of Alabama and Coach Saban for this tremendous opportunity, and we feel humbled and honored to be a part of the Crimson Tide family,” Kiffin said in a statement. “I’ve always had the utmost respect for what Coach Saban has done with his programs. Having the unique opportunity to be here last month, I was able to meet some of the great players and the great people in the organization, and I’m very excited to start working with them. We’ve seen the passion and support of the Alabama fans firsthand, and when that’s combined with the storied history and tradition of the program, this is a very special place to coach.”

While Kiffin was at Tennessee he and Saban played against each other once. That game was Oct. 24, 2009 and Alabama won 12-10. Tennessee had a chance to win the game on a late field goal but the attempt was blocked by Alabama nose tackle Terrence Cody.

Kiffin replaces Doug Nussmeier, who left Tuscaloosa on Thursday to take the same position at Michigan. Kiffin last served as an offensive coordinator when he was co-offensive coordinators with current USC coach Steve Sarkisian under Carroll in 2005-06.

While at USC as an assistant, Kiffin had Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush among other offensive weapons. In his two seasons as co-coordinator, the Trojans averaged nearly 50 points per game and 580 yards.

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