Lane Kiffin says he'll help Clemson preparaton, Nick Saban says he won't

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Tuesday January 03, 2017

(UPDATE: Nick Saban says Kiffin will not be involved with Alabama moving forward and won’t help preparation or game day coaching. Fox Sports reports NCAA compliance told Alabama today that Kiffin cannot coach in the title game).

Original story:

It sounds like Lane Kiffin’s breakup from Alabama isn't a full separation, and Kiffin could still be involved in preparation for Clemson in the national championship game.

Kiffin joined Mike & Mike on Tuesday and was asked if he’ll still be involved after his "mutual" departure. Asked if he’ll be on the sideline for the game, Kiffin said the coaches box is a possibility.

“We are checking that out. We do not know, legally, whether we can,” he said. “Sidelines, for sure not, but the press box would be ideal, because that exchanges what Sark’s role was and what my role was, and he came come down to the field and coach the players.”

Later Tuesday, ESPN’s Coley Harvey reported there is “absolutely no chance in the world that will happen.” Saban will certainly be asked about it soon, and we'll find out the details.

Steve Sarkisian was an offensive analyst. It appears that’s what Kiffin’s new role will be. It was clear that Saban wasn’t happy with the preparation leading into the Washington game. Kiffin admitted handling two jobs was tough. He still will, but now FAU is his top priority.

“The two weeks leading up to the (Washington) game, Alabama was the priority and FAU was second. Now they kind of switch, not having as much time,” he said. “If you’re going to call the game and do the whole gameplan, as I’ve always done, we don’t split it up. That’s an 18-, 19-, 20-hour job a day, non-stop. You’re laying in bed thinking about plays. Waking up thinking about it. That’s how I’ve always been.

“That’s how Sark is, too. This allows us to do that and have zero distractions. We’ll go back and forth, help any way we can. Toward the end of the week, we come down to Tampa, I’ll be close in Boca, going back and forth doing what’s needed in any capacity for both places will be a lot easier.”

Kiffin reiterated that he would be coaching in the national championship game if he wanted to, and again denied reports he was late to meetings. He also strangely noted that Alabama’s defense struggled against Clemson last year as Kirby Smart balanced two jobs and said Kiffin wouldn’t want to hurt the offense.

“This was not something Nick Saban forced me to do, by any means. If I wanted to coach this game, I would have coached this game,” Kiffin said. “I just thought it wasn’t the best thing for the players. I saw Kirby struggle with it a year ago, and I don’t know if that’s why we didn’t play very good in this same game on defense. I don’t know if that’s part of it or not. I didn’t want that feeling that if it was, and we lost a game because I wasn’t 100 percent focused, I couldn’t live for that. Not for these kids.”

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