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#pounditWednesday, January 20, 2021

Lane Kiffin

Report: Lane Kiffin trying to hire coaches away from Nick Saban, get revenge

Lane Kiffin FAU

Anyone who follows Lane Kiffin on Twitter could tell you that the coach holds a grudge against Nick Saban because of the way Saban parted ways with him at Alabama, and that is one of the many reasons Kiffin being hired as the head coach at Ole Miss will make for some outstanding storylines. It was also apparently a driving force behind Kiffin wanting the job.

Aaron Suttles of The Athletic reports that multiple people with knowledge of Kiffin’s thinking told him Kiffin is looking to exact revenge on Saban, and one of the ways he is trying to do that is by poaching members of Saban’s staff. Kiffin is said to be looking to build out his Ole Miss staff with as many current, former and potential Alabama coaches as possible, and he has already extended some offers.

According to Suttles, Kiffin has tried to entice Alabama strength and conditioning coach Scott Cochran to join him in Oxford by offering him an on-the-field coaching position. Cochran is a big part of recruiting at Alabama, and he has been on Saban’s staff for all six of his national championships, including when he worked under the head coach at LSU.

Kiffin has also reportedly expressed interest in Alabama defensive coordinator Tosh Lupoi, secondary coach Karl Scott, and former defensive line coach Bo Davis, who stepped down from his position with the Tide more than three years ago amid allegations of recruiting violations.

Some have wondered why Kiffin would take a job in the SEC rather than joining a Power Five conference where he might have an easier time winning, but it’s really no surprise that he’s motivated to take down Saban. Kiffin has praised Saban publicly, but he also never passes up an opportunity to take a shot at him on social media. Saban basically fired Kiffin as his offensive coordinator days before the national title game three years ago, though it was framed like Kiffin was leaving to focus on his new job as the head coach at FAU.

Ironically, Saban spoke in an HBO special that aired this week about how much it bothers him when coaches who worked under him try to poach members of his staff. Don’t expect that to deter Kiffin at all.

Ole Miss fans, the Lane Train is heading to Oxford! Jump aboard by buying the Lane Train shirt! It’s available in two colors:

5 best college football coaching hires of the offseason

Lane Kiffin FAU

The college coaching carousel is still moving, but many of the bigger hires have already been sorted out. The likes of Florida State and Ole Miss have new coaches, and they’re going to have to hit the ground running to assemble recruiting classes, put together a staff, and start implementing their vision.

So which of the coaching hires so far look to be the best on paper? Here are five big standouts now that the hires have started.

5. Jeff Scott, USF

The best hire of an assistant coach so far this offseason, Scott is more than ready to be a college head coach. A long-time Clemson assistant, he’s served as co-offensive coordinator on Dabo Swinney’s staff. Importantly, he has been a key recruiter for Clemson and has ties to the state of Florida, which should help him immediately. That experience and background in recruiting is massive for a first-time coach, and it should allow him to attract good talent early on to USF. That could lead to a very quick turnaround.

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Lane Kiffin has amazing quote about tarmac reception at Ole Miss

Lane Kiffin FAU

Lane Kiffin got a hero’s welcome upon arriving at Ole Miss as the new head football coach, and he had a pretty fantastic response to that.

Kiffin greeted fans after arriving in Oxford on Sunday night, kissing babies and interacting with Ole Miss faithful. The reception was overwhelmingly positive, and when asked about it Monday, Kiffin cracked an absolutely killer one-liner.

This is going to be amazing.

For those who may not remember, Kiffin was infamously fired by USC in an airport terminal after being pulled off the team bus. Over six years later, it’s still one of the most memorable episodes of Kiffin’s coaching career, albeit for all the wrong reasons. Kiffin is over it enough to have made light of it in the past, but this is a whole new level of funny.

Ole Miss fans, the Lane Train is heading to Oxford! Jump aboard by buying the Lane Train shirt! It’s available in two colors:

Watch: Lane Kiffin already holding Ole Miss babies, told to ‘get you a burner phone’

Lane Kiffin FAU

Lane Kiffin received a hero’s welcome when his plane touched down in Oxford on Sunday night, and Ole Miss fans are already offering valuable advice for their team’s new head coach.

Just after he stepped off his private jet, Kiffin interacted with some Rebels fans and was even kind enough to pose for a photo with someone’s baby. The same fan who passed the baby over to Kiffin then urged the coach to “get you a burner phone.”

Welcome back to the SEC, Lane.

As many of you know, the fan was likely making a reference to how former Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze got caught. Freeze resigned over two years ago after an examination of his phone records revealed that he made calls to escort-type services while on recruiting trips. That resulted in major sanctions and a two-year postseason ban for the Rebels.

In other words, the fan who spoke to Kiffin on Sunday doesn’t care what the coach does to win football games at Ole Miss — he just doesn’t want him to get caught. He’s probably not the only one who feels that way.

Ole Miss fans, the Lane Train is heading to Oxford! Jump aboard by buying the Lane Train shirt!

Lane Kiffin dodges Ole Miss question just before officially being hired

Lane Kiffin

Lane Kiffin was refusing to talk about Ole Miss right up until the last moment before his hiring was made official.

The Florida Atlantic coach led his team to a blowout 49-6 win in the Conference USA title game on Saturday. During the postgame celebration, Kiffin was asked if he’d just coached his final games with the Owls. Kiffin refused to answer the question, shifting the attention back to the school and players.

Less than a half hour after that, Ole Miss officially confirmed that Kiffin had been hired as the new coach — with a rather dramatic video.

Kiffin obviously knew the answer — the deal was essentially done as of Friday, and Ole Miss was merely waiting for Kiffin to coach in the C-USA title game to announce it. It’s an awkward and uncomfortable spot to be in, and he obviously wasn’t going to go in depth on the situation on a stage with his celebrating players. It’s still a rather strange note for Kiffin’s FAU career to end on, though.

Report: Lane Kiffin to be announced as Ole Miss head coach on Monday

Lane Kiffin FAU

Lane Kiffin to Ole Miss looks like it is happening.

Rivals reporter Neal McCready reported on Friday night that Kiffin will be Ole Miss’ next head football coach, though a deal is not officially signed. He says Kiffin will arrive in Oxford on Sunday, a day after FAU’s conference championship game, and be announced as their head coach on Monday.

Kiffin is in his third season at Florida Atlantic and has coached them to the Conference USA Championship Game twice.

Kiffin taking this job makes me wonder what he is thinking. He will have to compete with Nick Saban at Alabama, Ed Orgeron at LSU, Gus Malzahn at Auburn, and Jimbo Fisher at Texas A&M. He could not have picked a more difficult division.

So why did he do it?

Kiffin has never really done the rational thing during his career. He got into it with Al Davis in Oakland and was quickly fired; left Tennessee after just one season; took over at USC while they were under sanction; and couldn’t resist taking a shot a Alabama while their offensive coordinator, which led to his premature ouster.

He seems to revel in being a boat-rocker more than a consistent winner. He probably just has a burning desire to be needle Saban as much as possible and to get a chance to beat him every year. That was probably more appealing for Kiffin than to actually go to a program where he would have a good chance a long-term success.

Report: Lane Kiffin to Ole Miss close to a done deal

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Is Lane Kiffin headed for a return to the SEC? One reporter thinks so.

Ole Miss Rivals reporter Neal McCready reported on Friday that Kiffin to Ole Miss is close to a done deal.

Kiffin is in his third season as the head coach at Florida Atlantic. He has helped the Owls achieve success, as they’re playing the conference championship game for the second time in three seasons, and he seems to be enjoying Boca Raton.

Previously considered too toxic for hire due to poor stints in Tennessee, USC and with the Raiders, Kiffin has apparently rebuilt his brand well enough to the point that two SEC programs have had interest in him.

Kiffin also has talked with Arkansas.

Even though this report says it’s close to a done deal, don’t assume that Arkansas won’t get back in the mix, or that Kiffin won’t somehow reach a deal to remain at FAU.

The SEC West is the toughest division in college football, and taking over at Ole Miss or Arkansas while having to compete against LSU, Alabama, Auburn and even Texas A&M is almost setting one’s self up for failure. But Kiffin’s never been one to make a measured career move.

FAU reportedly planning to offer Lane Kiffin a raise amid Arkansas rumors

Lane Kiffin

Lane Kiffin has been heavily linked to the Arkansas head coaching vacancy, and there are some who believe he would welcome the opportunity to coach in the SEC again. However, it is also possible that Kiffin will take advantage of all the speculation and parlay it into a raise from his current employer.

Doug Samuels of Football Scoop reports that Florida Atlantic is preparing an offer that would entice Kiffin to remain with the Owls. While there is still a chance Kiffin could end up at Arkansas, he could opt for remaining at FAU with a higher salary over taking on the difficult task of trying to rebuild with the Razorbacks.

FAU signed Kiffin to an extension through 2027 after he led the team to a Conference USA championship in his first season on the job two years ago. They also loaned him $2 million to purchase a home, and he would have to repay that loan if he leaves the school before 2021.

Kiffin’s interest in the Arkansas job may be legitimate, but he has a good situation at FAU and may simply be trying to take advantage so he can get more money. He has already denied wanting to be considered for another high-profile job, and trying to keep pace with Alabama and Auburn in the SEC West could prove to be an insurmountable challenge.

Report: Lane Kiffin has had ‘significant conversations’ about Arkansas head coach job

Lane Kiffin

Could Lane Kiffin be on his way back to the SEC?

The Florida Atlantic coach has reportedly met with Arkansas athletic director Hunter Yurachek, according to Doug Samuels of Football Scoop. The two sides have had “significant conversations” about the job, but there is no guarantee Kiffin would take the position. The situation is also complicated by the fact that Kiffin is busy preparing for the Conference USA championship game.

Arkansas’ search appears wide open at this point. Iowa State’s Matt Campbell is reportedly the school’s top choice, but he is unlikely to take the job. They have also looked at Washington State’s Mike Leach and Memphis’ Mike Norvell.

Arkansas wants a big name hire, and Kiffin would certainly qualify, though it’s arguable that he’s a big name for the reasons they want. He went 7-6 at Tennessee before fleeing to USC, where he went 28-15 before being fired. He’s 25-13 in three seasons so far at FAU.

Kiffin has been linked to other big jobs and downplayed his interest. This one definitely seems to be up in the air.

Lane Kiffin denies reported interest in Florida State head coach job

Lane Kiffin FAU
Hours after he was reported as interested in the Florida State head coaching job, Lame Kiffin is denying that chatter and using it as a recruiting pitch.

Kiffin took to Twitter to reply to someone urging him to come to Seminoles, denying the rumor and focusing on winning a conference title.

Earlier reporting Monday suggested Kiffin wanted the job. Maybe he does and is denying it right now because there’s no indication that Florida State is interested. We may never find out. But Kiffin is a smooth operator and used it to urge people to come to Florida Atlantic. When you’re in the spotlight, might as well make the most of it. Kiffin has never failed to do just that.