We all did it. We made fun of Alabama when they hired Lane Kiffin 2 years ago. I for one have sat back and marveled at this man’s ability to keep getting hired despite how he can’t get out of his own way. But what we now know about Coach Kiffin is what Nick Saban told us when he hired him. He can flat out coach.
Saban showed visual irritation back in the spring of 2014 when a reporter asked him about Kiffin’s past screw-ups at Tennessee and USC. “It’s about time you guys realize that he’s a very good coach.” We all cocked our head and said “huh?” but ole Nick was right again. Lane Kiffin has shown himself as a very good coach/offensive coordinator and tonight he will be the unexpected reason the Crimson Tide hoist another Championship trophy.
At some point tonight, Kiffin will pick just the right time to take a shot down the field or he will call a rarely-used screen pass that will inevitably win the game for Alabama. He’s done it all season. He’s seized just the right moment to utilize Kenyon Drake and/or ArDarius Stewart instead of the more focused-on Derrick Henry and Calvin Ridley and it usually equals six points for the offense. Against a strong and athletic defense like Clemson has, even Bama will need a trick up its sleeve to get the win.
Anyone can call a trick play, but that’s not what Kiffin does. He doesn’t dial up gimmicks. He picks precise moments to call specific plays. Look back through the season and check me. It happens at least once a game, most often once a half and it is what makes Lane Kiffin work in Tuscaloosa. They still run the ball down your throat. They still leverage those huge backs and mammoth offensive line. But Kiffin’s offense keeps that thought in the back of your mind that you better not get caught peaking in the backfield if you are a defensive back. And you’d better not miss a read if you are a linebacker. Because Coach Kiffin will make you pay.
Tonight, Kiffin will make the Clemson defense pay and the Tide will roll once again.