Lane Kiffin will be a tempting target for those NFL teams — Jets, Falcons, Bears, 49ers among them — who are shopping for a new coach, but he said Monday morning that he plans to return to Alabama next fall.
Alabama’s offensive coordinator was the star of a Sugar Bowl news conference, where he said, among other things, that he will be on the Crimson Tide’s sidelines in 2015.
Here’s what he said, according to AL.com:
“I think that we still have a lot of stuff that we can do better. Working with a new quarterback, that will be exciting. To me, the excitement of the unknown when you have the quarterback, to see if we can do this again, if we can perform really well and obviously coach has recruited very well year in and year out.
“Who are going to be the next guys up because we’re going to lose the all-time leading receiver (Amari Cooper) in the history of the school and what may be after this game, the all-time leading rusher (T.J. Yeldon) in the history of the school. I think he’s getting ready to break that and quarterback (Blake Sims) who’s had the most productive year in the history of the school, and we’re going to lose them all at the same time.”
Kiffin also said he would have “paid” coach Nick Saban for the opportunity to “learn from Saban and his process,” but instead signed a three-year contract worth $680,000 in the first two seasons and $714,000 for the third year.
If Kiffin stays put, it would set up one of the most anticipated coordinator battles for next year’s Iron Bowl, when he would face off with new Auburn defensive coordinator Will Muschamp.
The SEC is 1-0 in bowl games heading into this afternoon’s Liberty Bowl (West Virginia vs. Texas A&M) and tonight’s Texas Bowl (Texas vs. Arkansas).
Alabama will play Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl at 8:30 p.m. Jan. 1 (ESPN).