Sudden Move Shakes Up Alabama Before Playing Clemson In National Championship Game
The Monday before the National Championship game, Nick Saban told Kiffin to go ahead and leave for Florida Atlantic. Steve Sarkisian will replace Kiffin as Alabama’s offensive coordinator as it faces Clemson in an effort to win the school’s 17th National Championship.
Alabama will survive; Saban knows what’s best for his team. The big picture for Kiffin is that questions about him still linger just as he’s again becoming a head coach. After all, former Saban assistant Jim McElwain stayed at Bama through the title game, as did Kirby Smart.
Questions about Kiffin now hang over his head. Is this a sign he’s is not yet mature enough to handle two jobs at once? Is he not a good multi-tasker, obviously a ket attribute to being a successful head coach. Can he not prioritize?
Kiffin will answer these questions – one way or another – in the next couple of years at Florida Atlantic. But being sent home by Saban certainly gets his new head coaching tenure off to a rocky start.
Alabama’s offense looked bland and even somewhat unprepared in its 24-7 win over Washington in the College Football Playoff semifinal. One play in particular showcased offensive indecision. On third and six after a U-Dub turnover, Kiffen had wide receiver Ardarius Stewart in the backfield while running back Damien Harris was split wide. Stewart missed the hole and the Tide had to settle for a field goal when it needed a touchdown.
Had Bo Scarbrough not acted like the second coming of Derek Henry – which his potential says he is – then this would have been a very, very tight game.
It didn’t help that Kiffin said in a pre-game interview he remembered the “ass chewings” he received from Saban. He said this to be a bit funny but also to try and show he’s been humbled by his time under Saban.
But this one comment in an otherwise long compliment to Saban and his time at Alabama was made into sensational headlines by websites and blogs seeking page views. No doubt, this did not sit well with Saban.
Of course, Bama fans are somewhat relieved at the change. They hope to see no more jet sweeps from the opponents’ goal line, no three consecutive calls of wide receiver screens when the running backs are gashing the opponent up the middle.
This caused such frustration that fans created a hashtag – #runthedamnball – on Twitter.
Saban knows what he’s doing and he couldn’t trust Kiffin to handle both jobs at the same time. As a result, Kiffin must be extra careful to prove he’s ready to be a head coach.