In a stunning move, Alabama announced Monday Lane Kiffin will not join the Tide for next Monday night's College Football Playoff National Championship against Clemson. Steve Sarkisian is now Alabama's offensive coordinator, effective immediately.
Announcing the move on ESPN, Nick Saban said preparation for Saturday's semifinal game "played a factor" in the move. Alabama won the game, 24-7. Saban was also critical of play-calling during his halftime interview of the Peach Bowl -- Alabama led 17-7 at the time, but one of their two touchdowns was a pick-six. The Tide finished the game with 50 rushes for 269 yards against 14 pass attempts.
“We appreciate all that Lane has done for our football program over the last three years,” Saban said in a statement. “We sat down following the Washington game and talked about the time demands of managing both jobs, and we recognized that it is best for our players, and for Lane, that we allow him to turn his full attention to his new head coaching role at FAU.
“This wasn’t an easy decision and we appreciate the way Lane handled this in terms of doing what is best for our team. At the end of the day, both of us wanted to put our players in the best position to be successful. Obviously, we are in a unique situation here where we have our next offensive coordinator already on staff. We have full confidence that Sark will step in right away and make this a smooth transition.”
It's worth remembering the dead period is in effect at the moment -- meaning Kiffin's recruiting duties at Florida Atlantic haven't truly ramped up yet -- and that both Kirby Smart and Tom Herman finished their respective runs before moving on to their new employers.
For Sarkisian, the move is the next step in a rapid rebound, one that comes one (massive) game ahead of his scheduled ascension to Alabama's coordinator chair.
As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.