EDITOR: Bumped to front page. It's nice to get some analysis from someone that knows Kiffin better than any of us. Thanks for the write up, Paragon.
While I gave up Managerial duties at Conquest Chronicles right before the start of the 2013 season I have spent some time with Lane Kiffin. I don't know him well but I know him enough to make an educated opinion on his being hired by Nick Saban and Alabama.
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Lane Kiffin is an easy punching bag.
He is not a warm person to those he is not close to. He is not a person that does well in front of a crowd but he can be engaging in a one on one setting as I experienced first hand at the Pac-10 Media Day in NYC in 2010 (Part 2 here) and again in 2011.
But as many of us have seen, Kiffin is his own worst enemy. The rise of Lane Kiffin from an assistant to Norm Chow then OC at USC, to the head coach of the Oakland Raiders, to the head coach at Tennessee, to the head coach of USC has been interesting to watch.
I know of no other coach who has been able to "fail up" the chain like Lane Kiffin has.
It is clear that Lane Kiffin knows offense. But like any coach he has his bad games, see the UCLA game in 2006 when he was the OC. That single bad performance kept USC out of the national title game that year. Like many of us saw the past few years there were no halftime adjustments in that game.
There are many who think Kiffin is an ace recruiter. I tend to think he is an above average recruiter. I'd like to know how he does without Ed Orgeron or Monte Kiffin in the room with him. Yes, Kiffin has pulled in some great recruits to USC. But he also missed on a number of badly needed recruits and he also did not fill his classes the last two seasons especially when you consider USC's crippling NCAA sanctions.
That left many USC fans angry and frustrated.
Lane Kiffin is an above average to excellent offensive coordinator, but he is a horrible head coach. It was clear that he had just too much on his plate in trying to do everything at USC. Call it micromanaging if you will. If singularly focused on offense he will do well at Alabama. He can play mad scientist with the talent that he has without having to worry about HC or defensive duties.
There times when he would call a great game like against ND, Oregon and Stanford in 2011 and then some real stinkers like ND and the Sun Bowl in 2012. And who could forget the game against Washington St. in 2013?
The question is simple can Kiffin change? Will he be able to adjust his game for a new QB at Alabama? Will he start to change his approach and start looking at using some of the schemes used by Oregon and/or Auburn? The sport is heading in that direction and even though Nick Saban is averse to these "New" offenses they are here to stay. Kiffin is young enough to change and implement these schemes but is he too stubborn to?
I won't say this is a home run hire for Alabama but I will say there is some promise in this hire. Alabama fans have trusted Nick Saban up to this point...why wouldn't you here?
Kiffin has to let his guard down, he has to let Saban nurture Kiffin through his "quirks". Saban won't take any crap, so Kiffin will keep his nose clean. It is clear that Saban likes Kiffin…he gave Kiffin complete access to the offense prior to your bowl game and Saban and his wife had a long dinner with Kiffin so its clear they have some chemistry. I would also not be surprised if Pete Carroll picked up the phone and put his two cents in as well, Pete and Nick have a pretty good relationship.
Hard to know where this goes.
Kiffin said if given another chance he would change. This is his chance. He needs to be more balanced in his approach. If the running game is working then stick to it. Don't be so in love with the bubble screens. Use the TE more. AND MAKE HALFTIME ADJUSTMENTS!!!
How Kiffin does with the new QB will be the true test.
I think this can be a real positive for Alabama but with Kiffin's past I can see why some are shaking their heads. Many USC fans tried to put on a good face when Kiffin was hired in 2010 including your truly. But his hiring by Mike Garrett was wrong and short sighted.
I don't think that is the case here...