Lane Kiffin: Steve Sarkisian going to the Falcons 'didn't surprise me at all'

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Thursday March 30, 2017

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Lane Kiffin isn’t surprised Steve Sarkisian left the Alabama offensive coordinator job for the Atlanta Falcons, because he had a similar situation.

In Alabama’s opener against Florida State next fall, Brian Daboll will be Bama’s third offensive coordinator in three games. Kiffin held the role most of the year, and Sarkisian called the national championship game after his promotion. But when Dan Quinn made a change after the Super Bowl, he hired Sark.

Kiffin joined Outkick The Coverage and was asked if he was surprised by Sark’s move.

“No, not at all,” Kiffin said. “He went through (a situation) similar to me. His kids are still in LA like mine were. That’s a tough deal. You’re living in Tuscaloosa, your kids are in LA, it’s hard to get back and forth. There’s no direct flights. It takes forever. You end up driving to Birmingham, flying to Atlanta and going back.

“And then you’re working for Coach Saban on his schedule, which as we all know is very time-consuming. I was not surprised at all.”

The family time for a coach in the NFL is much higher than college, and Kiffin didn’t even mention recruiting.

“In the NFL, you have so much time off now, with so little workouts in the offseason you’re allowed to do, and you have a Pete Carroll disciple as a head coach, so you’re going to have a lot of time off,” Kiffin said. “That decision didn’t surprise me at all. He’s going to see his kids 20 times as much now, because of the location and the job setup.”

Two weeks ago, Kiffin was asked if he was happy working at Alabama and said, “yes and no,” citing the same family issues.

Kiffin was also asked about Ed Orgeron’s interest in bringing him to LSU as offensive coordinator. That was an open secret. Kiffin knew the FAU head coaching job was a paycut, but he says a head coaching job, Boca Raton and the situation fit more of what he wanted.

“I definitely would have made a lot more money,” he said of LSU. “But (when you’re 41 instead of 31), you think different when you’re older. You don’t make decisions like when you were young based off money or chasing this or a bigger program. You find out what you want to do.

“It would have been great to coach with Orgeron again. I have a great respect for him. I do believe they’re going to do great things there. I think they’re going to win championships there. He’s got a great roster, he’s a phenomenal recruiter. It sounds like he hired a really good coordinator on offense (in Matt Canada). He’s got maybe the best defensive coordinator in college football (in Dave Aranda). I think he’s going to do great.

“When it came down to the people here, the location, the ability to recruit. I know it sounds strange, but it’s got a miniature USC feel, because of the beach, the weather, how nice it is, the campus. The ability to recruit, they come here because they want to live here.”

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News,, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to