Lane Kiffin: How Alabama's OC Not Only Reparied His Reputation, but Earned a New IdentityBy Russell Westerholm
Lane Kiffin's stock as a football coach is reaching a fever pitch, but the Alabama offensive coordinator may be holding out for the right situation to present itself.
Citing unnamed sources, ESPN's Brett McMurphy learned UCLA head coach Jim Mora offered Kiffin his vacant offensive coordinator position, but was turned away.
Kiffin is apparently holding true to his word that he wants to stay in Tuscaloosa at least another year, and that stay could be longer if he does not find the right fit elsewhere. The speculation around Kiffin would indicate he wants to go back to being a head coach, but that does not mean he is not completely content being an offensive coordinator for now, just not in Los Angeles.
"I have a great job," Kiffin told ESPN days ahead of the national title game. "So anytime that stuff comes up, I remind myself that I have a great job with great players and a great head coach, and there are only two teams still playing, so we're fortunate to be here."
In Kiffin's two seasons as offensive coordinator, Alabama has averaged about 36 points per game. Though that offensive output is nothing new for the Tide, the way the offense is scoring is entirely different. Not only has Alabama added the home run pass to its air game, but they have not sacrificed their identity as a hard-nosed run-first team.
Here is Alabama's average passing yards per game in each of the past five years followed by their average rushing yards per game, according to ESPN. Note the last two were under Kiffin's offense with two different QBs he had no hand in recruiting.
2011: 215.2, 214.5
2012: 218, 226.5
2013: 248.5, 205.6
2014: 277.9, 206.6
2015: 277.1, 199.9
ESPN dubbed Kiffin a "quarterback whisperer" for the production he was able to coax out of Blake Sims, a former scout-team QB and part-time wide receiver, and Jake Coker, who had spent all three seasons of his collegiate career as a backup.
Now Kiffin will get to pick from four underclassmen to start at QB for the Tide this season, three of which were recruited since Kiffin's arrival. Whether Kiffin wants to get back to leading his own coaching staff at another program or if he will embrace an identity as an offensive guru, he is well positioned.