Lane Kiffin Not Officially Out For Alabama’s National Championship Game?

Ford Springer | Contributor

Lane Kiffin reached a mutual decision with Alabama head coach Nick Saban to give up his role as offensive coordinator for the national championship game, but he may still be involved at some capacity.

Kiffin, who was named the head coach at Florida Atlantic University in early December, joined ESPN’s “Mike & Mike” on Tuesday to discuss his untimely departure from the chamionship-bound Alabama team.

Although Kiffin will not be calling plays for the Crimson Tide he seemed to believe he might still play a part in game preparations against the Clemson Tigers on Monday.

Kiffin was expected to finish the season as offensive coordinator for Alabama but after some shaky play calling in their College Football Playoff semi-final against Washington Saturday, he has been relieved of that duty. Alabama assistant coach Steve Sarkisian, who was already set to be the next offensive coordinator will be stepping into the role.

Offensive Coordinator Lane Kiffin of the Alabama Crimson Tide and Head Coach Nick Saben of the Alabama Crimson Tide walk during pre game of the 2016 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl at the Georgia Dome on December 31, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)

(Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)

The now former Alabama coordinator told “Mike & Mike” that he’s “still helping in every way” that he can to prepare Sarkisian and their offense in the week leading up to the game. Kiffin said he would continue to watch film and come up with ideas like Sarkisian did for him in his previous role. “And we’re going to win this game,” Kiffin added.

Kiffin and Saban have both said that Kiffin’s stepping down was a mutual decision between them for the best interest of their team. But Kiffin’s ideas about his role on Monday are completely one-sided.

Jalen Hurts #2 of the Alabama Crimson Tide and Offensive Coordinator Lane Kiffin of the Alabama Crimson Tide talk during pre gamethe 2016 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl at the Georgia Dome on December 31, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Kiffin admitted that his responsibilities of his next job affected his ability to dedicate himself fully to his role at Alabama for their semi-final Orange Bowl matchup. Now, he plans to focus on both jobs and “doing what’s needed in any capacity for both places.”

Kiffin told “Mike & Mike” that they were looking into whether or not he could legally be on the sidelines with Alabama Monday, but said “the press box would be ideal.” This way, Kiffin said, he and Sarkisian could effectively switch roles for the national championship.

Saban has other ideas. When asked about Kiffin’s comments later on Tuesday, Alabama’s head coach simply said, “that’s not something we’re interested in.”

Head coach Nick Saban, and Offensive Coordinator Quarterbacks Lane Kiffin talk to Jalen Hurts #2 of the Alabama Crimson Tide in the second half against the Florida Gators during the SEC Championship game at the Georgia Dome on December 3, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Saban has had to deal with coaching transitions like Kiffin’s several times, but none have been as rocky as this one. We’ll just have to wait and see whether or not his untimely exit has an impact on the top-ranked Crimson Tide on Monday.

Ford Springer

Contributor

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