Lane Kiffin has not been quiet since he and coach Nick Saban “mutually agreed” for him to discontinue calling offensive plays after the Peach Bowl against Washington. However, Kiffin claims that he could have kept coaching through the National Championship Game if he really wanted to.
“If I wanted to coach this game, I would have coached this game, and I just thought that it wasn’t the best thing for the players.”
However, Saban basically said that he was unhappy with the effort and preparation for the Peach Bowl from Kiffin. Here’s some of the examples of what Saban is talking about:
It would be fair to say that if it came down to it, Saban would definitely get the last word on whether Kiffin could coach and he would definitely be leaning towards a negative reaction. The two did not leave their relationship on great terms and it was pretty clear Saban wanted Kiffin out of there sooner rather than later.
Also, if you have to convince people that your head coach didn’t fire you or have control over you coaching the most important game of the season then you’ve already lost the perception battle. Here’s Kiffin’s logic though:
“I know this was a decision that I came up with, and it was very difficult to do,” said Kiffin, who’s taking over as Florida Atlantic’s head coach. “This was not something that Nick Saban forced me to do by any means.”
Kiffin and Saban announced Monday that incoming offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian, who has worked as an analyst this season, would run the offense and call plays against Clemson. Sarkisian is a former head coach and offensive coordinator so there is not expected to be much dropoff for the title game against the Tigers.