Two days after Paul Finebaum talked about Nick Saban’s legacy being at risk, Lane Kiffin stood up for his former Alabama Football boss. Kiffin challenged the Finebaum nonsense directly, stating Saban is the best coach in CFB history.
What happened Thursday was another of the many times Kiffin has praised Nick Saban.
"I’m extremely grateful to Coach Saban and our time together and most importantly for him giving me an opportunity to learn from him, and I mean he’s the best to ever do it."
Kiffin also sardonically thanked Finebaum for drawing Saban’s ire and making the job of every other SEC coach more difficult.
"That’s why we have Finebaum so he can motivate him every other year and says, ‘Oh his dynasty is over,’ and ‘You know this is the end of Saban,’ and then we’re like ‘Hey thanks a lot for pissing him off.’ Paul’s always wrong on this subject and he just did it again the other day."
It is easy to pick on Finebaum, who has been adept at creating swirls of attention for decades. Finebaum was doing his sad job. The question is to what extent Lane Kiffin was doing his. Kiffin likely knows that what Paul Finebaum says means little or nothing to Nick Saban. He probably also knows no adverse media attention is needed to focus the Alabama football team in the coming season.
As J.C. Lathaam announced on Wednesday, the 2023 Alabama Crimson Tide embraces a ‘chip on the shoulder’ underdog role. The internal motivation of the players and the staff will not need any boosting from external sources.
Speculating on why Lane Kiffin so frequently praises Nick Saban can stop at one reason. As Kiffin has said many times, Saban saved his coaching career. The younger man also appreciates how much he learned from Saban about being a head coach. Plus, the Lane Kiffin of the period 2000-2013 is not the same person today. He is still a jokester, but much of his abrasive tone in earlier years has faded. For Kiffin, his turning point was Tuscaloosa and Nick Saban.
Alabama Football Fans and Kiffin
Lane Kiffin did outstanding work in Tuscaloosa. He remains one of the best hires Nick Saban has made, among a long list of top assistant coaches.
Some Alabama football fans choose to speculate further about Kiffin and his coaching future. They are convinced his top career ambition is to succeed Nick Saban as the Alabama Crimson Tide head coach. Other Alabama fans scoff at the idea with the reason having nothing to do with football.
With Lane Kiffin, ‘never say never’ is a good guide.