Crimson Tide offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin said recently he would have paid Tide coach Nick Saban for the chance to guide the Alabama offense. The controversial Kiffin, former head coach at Tennessee and USC, took the paycheck anyway–and full advantage of the opportunity. This year’s Alabama offense averaged more yards per game than any in his history. Normally former head coaches don’t think coordinator jobs are worth paying for, especially former head coaches of programs like USC, but Kiffin went all in at ‘Bama and produced. Until the Sugar Bowl.
Kiffin is nothing if not aggressive by nature, so how to explain Alabama’s angora effort against Ohio State? Kiffin turned kitten in the Sugar Bowl, a game he entered as “College Football’s Hottest Coach.” Did Kiffin simply get conservative, not wanting to blow what he’d achieved? The most astute fans recognized it wasn’t just mistakes that doomed the Tide, it was the soft style of play. QB Blake Sims took the blame (“It was all me. I take full responsibility… “), but as Warren St. John–author of the bestselling Alabama football chronicle Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer—pointed out, the big problem was Lane Kiffin. “Lane Kiffin absolutely blew this game in a profoundly epic way,” tweeted St. John.
OSU played a great game but Lane Kiffin absolutely blew this game in a profoundly epic way. Played soft football. Super soft.
— warrenstjohn (@warrenstjohn) January 2, 2015