10 interesting quotes from college football media this week (Jan. 6)

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Friday January 06, 2017

- Paul Finebaum on Lane Kiffin: “If Lane Kiffin is trying to get a role on Saturday Night Live, he’s well on his way. That is just simply not believable. This is the offensive coordinator, someone who’s been a head coach three times. He’s trying to convince us he wasn’t all there during the week of the semifinal? It’s not like he took over the Dallas Cowboys. It was Florida Atlantic. I’ve been defending Lane for a long time on moving up. His answers not support that at all.”

- Kirk Herbstreit: “To me, it says a lot about the execution and preparation for the semifinal game. Alabama won that game with defense and special teams and not making mistakes on offense. It was the worst I’ve seen Jalen Hurts play all year. I don’t know what happened behind closed doors, but something pretty significant, to be able to let Lane Kiffin go before the championship. Steve Sarkisian is more than capable, but he was at USC, had problems, was going to be a broadcaster, then he’s on the staff as an analyst and now calling plays in the national championship. That’s a heck of a year for Steve Sarkisian. He’s capable, but it’s going to be different when he’s calling the plays.”

- Dan Le Batard: “I don’t want to speculate. I’d like to know what the truth is. I’d like one of these guys to tell us. How can we possibly be sold that, before the national championship game is when you decide, ‘Now is when I find you a little too unseemly. Now. I’ve been yelling at you for a year, we’ve been paying you $1.4 million, but now I’m fed up with you.’ What is the last drop in the bucket that made it overflow?’”

- Bruce Feldman: “What bodes well for Alabama, one of the first things I was told was, ‘We have such a good locker room with the leadership of the kids, that we should be able to handle the drama.' It’s an experienced staff, guys have been through it, and Sark has been on national title teams. The challenge will be the communication he has with Jalen Hurts. I suspect he’ll handle it well. He never struggled with that aspect of it.”

- Mike Greenberg: “There’s something going on. Whatever good he’d done himself at Alabama has been completely wiped away by this ending. I think he’s actually in worse shape than before he went there. People say Saban wouldn’t have won the championship without Kiffin, and now I think he’s back to square one, or even behind when he got to Tuscaloosa in the first place.”

- Ryen Russillo: “The best thing Lane Kiffin did with Jalen Hurts is, when they were in 3rd-and-long on their own side of the field, even with Stewart, Ridley and OJ Howard, he never got greedy. … What Sark needs to do is the exact same thing, not get greedy with the skill guys and put Hurts in a tough position. There are times in almost every Bama game that Hurts get stuck offensively. He was terrible against Washington. Sark has to call plays around that during the game.”

- Adam Rittenberg on Tracy Claeys: “I think they’re throwing a pretty good group of guys under the bus. Not just Tracy Claeys and his staff, but what Jerry Kill did in turning that program around that was in complete shambles. … It’s understandable Mark Coyle wants his own guy, but the comments he made, in terms of the culture of the program, the academics, I strongly disagree with that. Knowing Tracy Claeys, knowing the coaches, I think the academics were a huge problem when they arrived. They are no longer a problem. The culture of the program, certainly that incident is very troubling, but there hasn’t been a strong pattern of that behavior that I’m aware of. They are not among the leaders of players arrested. Let’s call this what this is. This is an athletic director and president who didn’t really want Tracy Claeys to stay as head coach, and they found a way, partly because of his stupid tweet and bad judgment, to get him out of there.”

- Danny Kanell: “This is ugly. This is something we haven’t seen before in all the circumstances that led up. An awful situation with what happened with several players, then you had players threaten to boycott their bowl game, something you don’t see often at all. Then you see Tracy Claeys gather information and stand by his players. This is really shaky ground as a coach. You’d better make sure the ground is the right side. If not, you’re going to find yourself on the outside rather quickly, and that’s exactly what happened.”

- Finebaum on Claeys: “What this coach did was defy his bosses. That is never a good ticket to keep your job. He really spit in their face, and he did it by being insensitive to the victim here. I understand standing up for your players. That’s important. But there’s a way to do it without going public without having all the facts. The administration did the right and only thing by letting him go.”

- Mark May on P.J. Fleck: “He’s got an uncanny ability to get players to buy in. Minnesota won 9 games this year. I expect them to win at least 8 or 9 games next year with P.J. Fleck.”

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with CoachingSearch.com and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News, MLive.com, 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 chris@coachingsearch.com.