He’s been the butt of an infinite amount of jokes because of the disappointing (and sometimes embarrassing) results of head coaching stops with the Oakland Raiders, Tennessee and USC, but Lane Kiffin can coach – especially when he’s given elite talent to work with.
Most of the coaches considered among today’s top offensive minds are elevated to that status because they have reputations as innovators. However, Kiffin relies largely on NFL and pro-style concepts he learned from his father’s colleagues Norm Chow (when Monte Kiffin was at N.C. State) and Jon Gruden (while the elder Kiffin was the defensive coordinator of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers), and has a tendency to borrow some of the more stylish plays like bubble screens from his peers.
In other words, he’s not known as a visionary. But as a play-caller, the results speak for themselves.
Last season, Kiffin led the Alabama offense to several offensive records tutoring first-year starting quarterback Blake Sims, who set the school’s single season passing record with 3,487 yards and the team averaged a school-record 277.9 yards per game. Sims’ top target, Amari Cooper rewrote the receiving portion of the record book and won the Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s best receiver. Cooper was also a finalist for the Heisman Trophy.
Prior to joining Nick Saban’s staff at Alabama, Kiffin helped USC receiver Marqise Lee win the Biletnekoff Award and earn All-American honors when he was the head coach of the Trojans. As the offensive coordinator at USC earlier in his career, he guided the offense for two national championship squads and coached Matt Leinart to the Heisman.
Love him or hate him, that’s a pretty strong track record of offensive production.
Next: Bob Stitt