Lane Kiffin addresses the media for the first time at Alabama
Lane Kiffin was hired by Alabama head coach Nick Saban more than six months ago and he has yet to speak to the media…until today when both assistant coaches Kiffin and Smart were given the opportunity to address the media at the annual Media Day / Fan Day in Tuscaloosa.
Kiffin opened with how happy he was to be back into coaching and thanked Coach Saban for the opportunity to come and work with his staff at Alabama. “You talk about toughness and discipline and commitment and pride and about what this place is about and what he has built over the 7 yrs, to come in and learn that has been really exciting”. (see video)
During the press conference Kiffin stated that the offensive staff has done a great job last year and a “number of players had great success last year” and that the intent is to not come in and completely change everything but more to build upon what was already in place. Kiffin is “really just coming in, looking at some things, very small changes and putting the players in the best position to utilize their talents and best position for us to win games”.
The OC addressed how he came about getting the job and said that he doesn’t believe it had anything to do with his eight day visit prior to the bowl game in December of 2013. He said that when Saban called him in for the consulting visit “Obviously, he knew I didn’t have a lot going on”. He is excited however with the chance as an assistant coach to get back to player development and focusing solely on football.
In a response to a question about TJ Yeldon Kiffin said “All I’ve seen is someone that works extremely hard. Doesn’t say very much…just goes to work….just wants to be great and wants to learn”. He also had very high praise of Amari Cooper stating that Amari “goes to work every day” and that he is in the weight room for two hours before the workouts. He went on to say that “Amari is completely dedicated to be the best football player he can … he’s great to work with.”
It took a little time to get to, which Kiffin jokingly pointed out, but the question was raised regarding going back to Tennessee this season. The last time Kiffin was in Knoxville he was packing his bags for the Southern Cal job and leaving the Vols after only one year. We had a great year there … It’s just a unique situation that came about … I don’t look back” Kiffin said. He also went on to say that it should be a great game between the two teams.
There were a couple of things that stood out a little more than others during Kiffin’s press conference. Throughout his career he has had the reputation of saying things he shouldn’t to the media. It’s obvious that Saban has had an influence over the OC in the short time he has been at Alabama and he pointed that out with the statement “Coach Saban teaches his coaches every single day about what he wants … he helps his coaches grow.” He also got another laugh out of the media when he said that “Saban met with me this morning to make sure I didn’t say anything that would show up on the ticker”. Kiffin also went on to say that “As you make mistakes, you better learn from them and not make excuses for them. I’ve made more than everybody, probably”. Does he want to get back to being a head coach “there’s always in your blood as a competitor”. However, the point that really stood out regarding his growth under Nick Saban that fans should really like is when he made the statement “This is not about Lane Kiffin or anything before. It’s about Alabama.”
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