Lane Kiffin To Take Florida Atlantic Head Coaching Job. What Does It All Mean?
Lane Kiffin will leave Alabama to become the head coach at Florida Atlantic. What does it all mean?
It means Houston and South Florida realized that Lane Kiffin is just a rental
Florida Atlantic needed to come up with something splashy, no matter how it ends up working out.
Kiffin was reportedly high on the Houston and South Florida wish lists, but to know the situation is to know that this isn’t going to last forever – at least it won’t if it all goes well.
Kiffin could easily step into the Alabama head coaching job if Nick Saban ever decides to leave, and he certainly has big things in his future to shoot for. But if he turns FAU into a Conference USA powerhouse over the next few years, fine. It’s an attractive job to begin with thanks to the weather, living in Boca Raton, and with the pressure not as high as other gigs. Make it a good job in terms of good football, and there won’t be any problems getting other strong prospects to come in.
Florida Atlantic had to keep up
The Sunshine State head football coaches are all incredible talents. Jimbo Fisher won a national title at Florida State, Jim McElwain won two SEC East titles in two years at Florida, Butch Davis is rebuilding up Miami, Scott Frost is a red-hot head coaching prospect at UCF, Charlie Strong was a great get for South Florida, and FIU was able to bring Butch Davis back to the Miami area. FAU needed its own coaching star power, and Kiffin is just that.
So what is Kiffin walking into?
Defense was the biggest problem under Charlie Partridge this season. The 3-9 Owls had the nation’s fifth-worst defense, giving up 514 yards per game having problems in all areas. There weren’t enough big plays from the secondary, and too many teams were able to roll at will, with Middle Tennessee closing things out hanging 77 points up on the board.
The ground game was okay, but the offense couldn’t get the passing game going, only chucking to try keeping up the pace to make up for the lousy defense.
Nine starters are expected to return on offense, and nine are back on defense, too, but the Owls lose star end Trey Hendrickson and star punter Dalton Schomp.
There’s enough for Kiffin to work with right away.
Will Lane Kiffin really be able to rehab his head coaching career?
Terrific as the Alabama offensive coordinator, he’s spent his time away from the head coaching world to build up his brand name again.
He didn’t make things easy on himself in his three head coaching stops, but he also didn’t catch much of a break from the three situations.
Oakland had no talent whatsoever, and it showed going 5-15 in his one-plus year in the NFL.
The 7-6 2009 season at Tennessee was one of the best in a while, with the talent brought in from his one recruiting class to help stock the shelves, and then he left for a better job.
Many Tennessee fans struggled to understand that.
He took over USC just as the sins of the past regime kicked in, and he also suffered from way-too-high expectations after going 10-2 in 2011.
But with the Reggie Bush sanctions, the depth wasn’t there, there weren’t as many offers to make in the recruiting world, and the 7-6 2012 season was considered a flop.
Had Kiffin been nicer, more fun, and more outgoing – the Pete Carroll personality – he might have lasted at USC. There were legitimate, built-in excuses, but he never got the benefit of the doubt, and he got kicked off the bus.
Four years after being a head coach, he’ll once again get to show what he can do.
Kiffin will stick around for the College Football Playoff run
Alabama went through this last year with Kirby Smart. He went through the College Football Playoff with the Crimson Tide as the defensive coordinator before moving on to the Georgia head coaching job. It’s not going to make a difference to the team – Kiffin will still be around as long as the team is alive.