Archive for the ‘Nick Saban’ Category

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Lane Kiffin having a deal with the devil is the only possible explanation I can come up with for his hiring as the new Offensive Coordinator at the University of Alabama. First off, I am a huge USC fan. I grew up in Southern California and thoroughly enjoyed the Pete Carroll years, and have therefore enjoyed the best, and worst, of CLK. When he was hired following Petey’s return to the NFL, I was ecstatic. He was a guy that knew the USC brand, had just come off a semi-successful, if not controversial, first year with Tennessee, and the guy could recruit. Even this past year, I felt that he should have been let go after the Sun Bowl following the 2012 season. The collapse that was the 2012 season was simply inexcusable. After the putrid end to 2012, the mass exodus of top rated recruits on National Signing Day 2013, and the start to the 2013 season with losses to Washington State at home and a throttling to Arizona State on the road, I was very ready to see him go. That said, I am not like Tennessee, and some SC fans that hate the guy. He is largely lacking in personality, and those that claim he has never earned any of the jobs that he has gotten have a point, but I don’t hold any ill will towards the guy. To me, he is a young guy with a family football pedigree, that was part of outstanding coaching teams early in his career which overstated his contributions to the success of those teams. He subsequently got some of the top spots at traditional powerhouse college football schools, and was simply in over his head.

This is why I simply do not understand the hiring of Lane by Alabama. ┬áNick Saban is widely regarded as the best coach in college football, and if there is someone that should be given the benefit of the doubt with decisions, it’s him. I simply don’t see what Lane brings to the table. Prior to the collapse at the end of the 2012-2013 recruiting cycle when Lane’s fate was known by top recruits across the country, the fact that Lane was a top notch recruiter was undisputed. There was even a consensus that Lane was a genius offensive mind following his time at SC the first go, his transformation of Jonathan Crompton from an SEC and fan base whipping boy to NFL draft pick, and his ability to get Matt Barkley and the sanction hampered Trojans of 2011 to be playing as well as anyone in the country at the conclusion of their last bowl-banned season. However, his body of work just doesn’t suggest that that is the case. Certainly not for the standard of modern college football like the Crimson Tide.

Now, do I think that Lane can be successful at Bama? Of course. The depth chart at Bama would make any coach or offensive coordinator look good. Lane loves to preach a “pro-style” offense, and this is where him and Nick see eye to eye. The dominant O-line and succession of punishing running backs will make play calling easy for the super technical and complicated offensive mind that is CLK. These things will allow him to bring Bama’s new, inexperienced QB along slowly, a CLK staple. He has historically refused to take the reigns off the offense without having absolute trust in his QB. And heaven forbid his QB make a mental error or throw an INT, because then the playbook is likely to be a combination of passes and runs all taking place within 10 yards of the LOS.

Recruiting will not see a decline with Lane on the staff, but that’s because Bama is currently the top of a handful of college football programs that compete every year for a national championship and churn out NFL draft picks. His ability to recognize and evaluate talent has always been heralded (although some contend that it is in fact Ed Orgeron that has the true eye for recognizing hidden talent and untapped potential), but that isn’t something that is lacking for the Crimson Tide. It’s not necessary to search for diamonds in the rough when your entire compliment of 25 scholarships are being fought over by 4 and 5 star recruits. In fact, Lane being on board gives opposing coaches some ammunition for negative recruiting, an unnecessary chink in the previously unflawed Alabama armor. For every Jonathon Crompton story Lane sells young Quarterbacks, there is a Matt Barkley story to refute it.

I guess this is why I JUST DON’T GET IT. This is the last thing that Alabama needs. There are upsides, but the calculated risks just seem to outweigh the possible benefits that it makes me scratch my head. All I can assume is that with Katherine Webb moving on to the NFL with AJ McCarron, the Bama brass decided to bring in Layla Kiffin as a replacement for the team barbecues.

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It will be interesting to see how this turns out for Bama fans, but until that happens, all Bama fans repeat after me: “IN SABAN WE TRUST”

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