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Nick Saban discusses Lane Kiffin's 'issues'

Ben Liebenberg/NFL
Lane Kiffin will be kept out of the limelight in his new position as an Alabama assistant coach.

Whatever baggage new Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin brings to the Crimson Tide coaching staff -- be it his ego, his well-documented knack for embarrassments, or his reputation as the spoiled kid who rode his last name into the coaching profession -- head coach Nick Saban will want it all checked at the door.

And Saban summarized his plan for that on Monday with a single, brief remark at the American Football Coaches Association convention in Indianapolis: "All his issues come from something we're not asking him to do."

No doubt, Saban was referring in large part to Kiffin's abject failures as a head coach of the Oakland Raiders, Tennessee Volunteers, and finally, at USC. Saban is betting that Kiffin's early-career success as an offensive coordinator can be re-born.

A big part of that will be keeping Kiffin and the media apart as much as possible, which will be no problem in Tuscaloosa. Since his arrival in 2007, Saban's policy has prohibited assistant coaches from media interviews, with a rare annual exception, only for coordinators, entering fall practice in August, and perhaps another prior to bowl games. Kiffin not only needs the veil of anonymity that policy provides, but he'll no doubt embrace it, as well.

At Alabama under Saban, there will be no room for all the missteps Kiffin made as a head coach that ultimately led to a bad reputation sticking like gum to his shoe soles. Late Raiders owner Al Davis called him a liar upon his firing. At Tennessee, he guaranteed victory and lost, said the wrong thing to the wrong player, and violated his share of secondary NCAA rules. At Southern Cal, he reportedly lied to reporters about his vote in the polls, and was called out for everything from switching a player's jersey number against Colorado, to the use of deflated game balls against Oregon.

But all of that came with Kiffin blowing the head coach's whistle. At Alabama, there is only one of those.

And fortunately for him, Kiffin isn't to touch it.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.



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