So, I found myself watching a good bit of ESPN coverage of SEC Media Days – Jeebus, are we in for a long year on that front – and listened to a debate between Kanell and Palmer about Lane Kiffin’s future at Alabama. (Hint: both think Junior won’t have his bags unpacked in Tuscaloosa all that long.)
All of which made me wonder what Nick Saban was thinking when he hired Kiffin in the first place. I understand why the Laner jumped at the opportunity to burnish his credentials, plus perhaps add “finally, team player” to his resume. But what does the practical Saban get out of the arrangement? Alabama’s got all the promotional attention it needs. As Spurrier reminded us this week, Saban recruits like a sumbitch and hardly needs any help on that front. Is Kiffin really the offensive genius he wants us all to believe he is? Nothing in his history at USC suggests that’s really the case; much of his reputation was the result of having phenomenal talent at his disposal as a coordinator. Certainly his last two years as head coach presiding over a shrinking talent base don’t indicate that.
So if the man is gone in a year or two, following his ambitions, what will Saban have gained? No snark intended here. Saban is as sharp as they come, so there must be something he sees. I just don’t get what that might be.
If the world is going to give Corch tons of shit for turning a blind eye to Aaron Hernandez’ behavior in Gainesville, I sure hope somebody in the media has a few questions to direct Junior’s way about Janzen Jackson.
When I was in high school, I had a job at a delicatessen, working afternoons and weekends. The pay wasn’t great, but one of the perks of the job was that the owners let the employees eat for free. Most of us didn’t abuse that, but there was this one guy who used to inhale lox like he was addicted to it. And even back in the ’70s, smoked salmon was an expensive luxury item. It got so bad that the owners offered him a good raise if he’d start paying for what he ate. He turned the raise down.
The reason I bring this story up is that, after reading this Kevin Scarbinsky column on Junior’s new contract… well, I wonder what the Laner would do if he were offered more money to keep his yap shut in public. Tough call, I bet.
Nick Saban’s new deal: eight years, $6.5 million per year with a $400,000 completion bonus.
Junior’s new deal: three years, $680,000 for the first two years and $714,000 for the third year.
Hard to question Saban’s numbers, other than why it took seven months to hash out the contract extension. But I continue to be amazed at every new SEC offensive coordinator who does better, financially speaking, than Mike Bobo.
Junior, I mean.
Nick’s the buttoned up, kinda grumpy, don’t have time for this shit dude. Laner’s the guy who writes checks with his mouth he can’t cash.
“As you guys know extremely well, I think the offense is led by the tailbacks. … There probably aren’t three more talented tailbacks in the NFL on a roster than we’re fortunate to be able to work with at Alabama.”
Alabama athletics director Bill Battle, on his reaction to Saban hiring Junior:
My first reaction, because I didn’t know Lane, wasn’t very positive. I talked to Coach Saban about it. He asked me if I had ever met him and I said no. He said, “Why don’t you meet him?” He had him in for a visit, I spent about an hour with him and I was very impressed. I followed up and talked to several different people. I called (athletics director) Pat Haden at Southern California. I talked to David Blackbird, who’s the AD at UT-Chattanooga. David was the compliance officer for football at Tennessee when Lane was there. They both told me that they thought he would be a great fit here, and I got really comfortable with it.
So the last guy who fired the Laner and the guy who had to keep up with his regular brushes with secondary violations at Tennessee told you he’d be a great fit at Alabama? Maybe you should consider the source, man.
Rise and shine, campers. It’s the start of another work week.
- It sounds like Junior’s gonna revolutionize Alabama’s offense. Right.
- I think people have taken Spurrier’s comment last week about Tennessee wanting to keep the rivalry game with Alabama out of context. It’s not so much a shot at UT as it is wondering why the Vols wouldn’t want to have more of a scheduling mix with weaker programs in the West.
- Five of the top ten spring game attendance marks came from SEC schools.
- This had to suck: Ralph Friedgen missed the Rutgers spring game while passing a kidney stone on Saturday.
- Should Alabama host Georgia in 2016, the two teams would not be scheduled to play again in Tuscaloosa until 2028.
- Speaking of the Great Scheduling Compromise, Nick Saban called it a week ago: “I think there’s a little bit more support for staying with an eight-game schedule and everybody playing a ninth opponent that’s in the five major conferences.”
- Now it’s the NFL that’s got a top official willing to consider a developmental league.
- LSU beat writer sympathizes with Joe Alleva’s fairness whine, suggests moving “Alabama and Auburn to the SEC East and put newcomer Missouri in the West, where it geographically belongs (along with Vanderbilt or Kentucky)”. Hey, if by “fair” you mean making life easier for LSU, that’s fair.
- Quarterbacks coach Terry Shea, who ran Aaron Murray’s Pro Day and helped Griffin, Sam Bradford and Matt Stafford prepare for their drafts, thinks Murray most closely compares to Stafford: “But Aaron can drive the ball, and he might even be more advanced than Matthew was because he’s had four years of great SEC football…”
Alabama’s offense pretty much blew at this weekend’s A-Day game, but that’s only because Junior was holding back 90% of the playbook, y’all.
You’d think Alabama’s got so much talent on the offensive side of the ball that it really doesn’t matter who’s calling the plays, but, then again, that’s what they thought at Southern Cal the last three seasons.
Clearing the decks… dig in.
- “We felt like our tight end position was really a little scary with the depth there,” coach Mark Richt said.
- To me, the most interesting aspect of the Michael Sam coming out story is whether the NFL will be able to deal with Sam’s sexual orientation as maturely as Missouri did.
- Rodney Garner complains of overcoming negative recruiting in his success in getting Dontavius Russell to flip from Georgia to Auburn.
- Good story from the Chattanooga paper on how their college football careers played out for 50 area recruits. (h/t Scorpio Jones, III)
- Bill Connelly has his first S&P+ projections for 2014. Georgia is eighth.
- I’m not sure Bret Bielema understands how recruiting rankings work. Either that, or he’s convinced he’s really, really good at finding diamonds in the rough.
- Chalk up another head coach who sees the role technology plays in recruiting these days. Mark Stoops: “I think it’s easier in some ways because of all the social media that you have,” he said.
- Junior, a look back.