Lane Kiffin and Nick Saban have had a complicated relationship over the years, but it’s fair to say that there’s some respect for the Alabama coach’s skills.
Kiffin, currently the head coach at Florida Atlantic, replied to a Twitter post Wednesday with the belief that Saban would outlast every other SEC coach — because the “GOAT” will never retire.
0. He's never retiring! #GOAT
— Lane Kiffin (@Lane_Kiffin) May 15, 2019
Kiffin served as Saban’s offensive coordinator for three years. For a lengthy period following his departure, Kiffin seemingly delighted in taking shots at his former boss, but seems to have been a bit warmer to him lately. This is further evidence of that — for their differing styles, Kiffin at least has some respect for Saban.
Lane Kiffin is back at work on the recruiting trail following a disappointing 5-7 second season at FAU, and it looks like he is pulling out all the stops in an attempt to land the players he wants.
On Wednesday, Lake Weir (Fla.) High School coach Knox Robinson shared a photo on Twitter of Kiffin visiting one of his players at a hospital maternity ward. The player, whom Robinson chose not to name, welcomed a child earlier this week, and Robinson says Kiffin talked to the young man about “real life stuff” rather than football.
Love him or hate him @Lane_Kiffin came to the maternity ward to see one of his recruits who just had a baby and talked to him about real life stuff. Not football. Coach Kiffin is a genuine guy and we appreciated having him around today! pic.twitter.com/bM08DJVWtR
— Knox Robinson (@CoachRobLW) January 30, 2019
We all know how Kiffin thinks his social media activity helps him attract recruits, but visiting a young man who just became a father probably resonates more. Kiffin’s looking to turn things around at FAU, and working that hard on recruiting should certainly help.
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 (@Lane_Kiffin) January 12, 2019
The tweet goes to show that the instant reaction to a hire can be so wrong at times. Clemson couldn’t have gotten their hire any better; Swinney has matched Nick Saban over the past four years.
Of course, leave it to Kiffin to send such a tweet. He always loves to stir the pot.
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
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) October 16, 2018
Kiffin saw the tweet and set the record straight, saying that he has.
— Lane Kiffin (@Lane_Kiffin) October 16, 2018
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.
— Stadium (@WatchStadium) October 4, 2018
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.
— Lane Kiffin (@Lane_Kiffin) September 18, 2018
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.
Lane Kiffin may have toned down his brash attitude a bit since becoming Florida Atlantic’s head coach, but one area where he remains vocal is on Twitter.
Other college football head coaches aren’t acting so boldly on their Twitter accounts, so why is Lane? He says it helps bring attention to his school and attracts recruits.
“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.
Maybe he does know what he’s doing.