Lane Kiffin clowned ESPN on Twitter Friday for missing so badly on their Dabo Swinney prediction a decade ago.
Long before he built Clemson into a powerhouse, Swinney was just a wide receivers coach and recruiter for the Tigers. Midway through the 2008 season, Tommy Bowden was fired and Swinney was named the interim head coach. At the end of the regular season, Clemson named Swinney their head coach.
In a column on ESPN analyzing that year’s hires, Pat Forde thought the hire was a poor one and gave it a D+ grade. Kiffin screenshotted the column on Twitter and put a bunch of facepalm emojis in the tweet, while tagging ESPN.
Lane Kiffin says that he has offered a scholarship to Matt Leinart’s 11-year-old son.
The talk of Leinart’s son Cole picked up steam on Tuesday after FOX college football reporter Bruce Feldman shared video of Cole throwing a great pass in a flag football game. Feldman joked that he was surprised Kiffin and FAU hadn’t already offered Cole a scholarship.
This is Matt Leinart’s son Cole. He’s already 5-7 and has a huge arm. Hasn’t turned 12 yet.. Shocked that Lane Kiffin and FAU haven’t already offered him. pic.twitter.com/5urEQM58XL
Our guess is that Kiffin is joking, but you never know. Kiffin was on staff at USC when Leinart was the Trojans’ quarterback, so it’s possible he has a connection with the Leinarts. Plus, Kiffin infamously got then-13-year-old David Sills to commit to him in 2010. Sills is currently a star wide receiver at West Virginia.
Cole Leinart has a long way to go before college. The odds are probably against Kiffin still being at FAU by the time Cole is ready for university ball.
The story of how Lane Kiffin began his coaching career is incredible and seems to fit in perfectly with his personality.
Kiffin, 43, was a backup quarterback at Fresno State from 1994-1996. Just when he thought he was going to get some action as a senior in 1997, David Carr came around. Carr, who eventually became a No. 1 pick in the 2002 NFL Draft, took Kiffin’s backup reps (both were behind Billy Volek on the depth chart).
Kiffin was frustrated by losing so many reps, so he showed up to practice one day with shorts and a T-shirt, telling quarterbacks coach Jeff Tedford that all his reps were going to Carr anyway. Carr, who told the story for Stadium, says that Kiffin was told to leave practice. Carr figures that some calls were made after that, because Kiffin returned to practice that day as an assistant wide receivers coach, officially beginning his coaching career.
Here’s the story via Carr:
David Carr tells the story of how Lane Kiffin's coaching career began in the most @Lane_Kiffin way possible.
Even though that was a bratty way to go about things, switching from playing to coaching was the best move Kiffin could have made. He quickly ascended the coaching ranks, making his way to USC’s staff as an assistant from 2001-2006. By 2007 he was the head coach of the Oakland Raiders, although we all know how that ended.
Kiffin has experiences his ups-and-downs in the coaching profession and now finds himself rebuilding his career at Florida Altantic.
Lane Kiffin is willing to go to great lengths to motivate his team to face one of its toughest opponents of the year on Friday — even if it means making up quotes from opposing players.
With FAU preparing to take on UCF, Kiffin printed out a quote from Knights defensive back Nevelle Clarke and hung it in the weight room. The comment makes it seem like Clarke predicted he is going to get the best of star running back Devin Singletary.
The problem? Well, there are actually two of them. For starters, Kiffin misspelled Clarke’s last name. But more importantly, Clarke never said anything about stopping Singletary in his tracks. The quote likely stems from an article in the Orlando Sentinel, in which author Brian Murphy wrote that Clarke is “looking forward to that challenge and stopping Conference’s USA’s reigning Most Valuable Player dead in his tracks.” The only actual quote he attributed to Clarke, however, was Clarke calling Singletary a “pretty good back.”
We know Kiffin has a lot of respect for No. 16-ranked UCF based on what he said about them earlier this week, but he probably should have stuck with just hanging that fake quote in the weight room. The Twitter police catches everything.
“People say ‘Why is he doing that on Twitter? Why is he doing that? Well, he’s doing that because it’s helping the school. It’s bringing more kids here. The recruits like it. The recruits’ parents like it. And our fan base likes it. Maybe someday you guys will get that,” Kiffin told SI’s Andy Staples for a story published on Wednesday.
It seems to be working, too.
Kiffin is bringing in some recruits — many as transfers — and helped the team go 11-3 last season. The school also says applications were up 35 percent, which they attribute to the attention Kiffin has drawn to the university.
Lane Kiffin’s FAU Owls will open up the season on Saturday against Oklahoma, and he knows how difficult of a challenge that game will be.
The Sooners, who reached the College Football Playoff last season, lost Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield. Taking the No. 1 draft pick’s place at quarterback will be Kyler Murray, the two-sport star who plans to pursue a professional baseball career with the Oakland A’s after the season.
Murray is a special athlete, which will make him particularly tough to defend.
“He’s a problem,” Kiffin said of Murray, via the Palm Beach Post. “These are the guys you want to play the least. People that give you all those problems are the guys who, when plays don’t happen in rhythm like a plays in football, especially college (don’t), they have the ability to get out of trouble and you can cover everybody and have the play matched perfect and the guy still takes off and runs for 15 yards.”
The Post says Kiffin also compared Murray to some of the dual-threat QBs who gave Alabama trouble the past few years when Lane was the Tide’s offensive coordinator.
Oklahoma enters the game as a 21-point favorite over FAU. Kiffin will need some serious magic to pull off a win.
Since becoming head coach at Florida Atlantic, Lane Kiffin has attracted all sorts of attention, including for his Twitter account. Sometimes irreverent, sometimes funny, sometimes trolling, Kiffin’s tweets attract attention.
So is there a strategy behind it? According to the man himself, not really. He simply decided to be his true self after leaving Alabama in 2016.
“It really wasn’t some detailed, thought-out plan,” Kiffin told Adam Kramer of Bleacher Report. “We’re all so worried about what people will say, how they look, what they wear and things like that. I’m not like that, obviously. You only live once.”
Kiffin originally joined Twitter to use it as a recruiting tool, but has taken it above and beyond. He is aware that his tweets are a good way to attract attention from recruits and non-recruits alike, and likes the authenticity it can provide.
“A lot of these coaches have their GAs [graduate assistants] or other people writing their stuff,” Kiffin said. “How real is that? I don’t want to read your tweets that somebody else did. I can look up your stats, your graduation rates and how many touchdowns you’ve thrown on my own.”
Kiffin uses Twitter to offer his thoughts on life, politics, football, and even his former employers. It has certainly made him unpopular in some circles, but given the on-field success they had in 2017 and the recruits they’re competing for that normally wouldn’t be available to a smaller program, it’s hard to deny that his strategy — or whatever you wish to call it — is working.