The parting of ways between Alabama coach Nick Saban and former offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin got even more awkward Tuesday, if that's possible.
On the heels of Kiffin's departure from the program just a week before the Crimson Tide's College Football Playoff title game appearance against Clemson, Florida Atlantic's new coach said Tuesday that Alabama was exploring the possibility of having him in the press box in some capacity other than offensive coordinator to help in the game against the Tigers.
Saban, however, was flatly dismissive of the possibility.
"We are checking that out," Kiffin told the Mike & Mike radio show. "We do not know legally whether we can do that. Sidelines for sure would not (be legal), but the press box would be ideal because that would exchange (new offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian) and I. I can do what his role was and he can do what my role was and come down to the field and coach the players."
Hours later, Saban was asked about the possibility on a CFP media teleconference, and shot down not only the legality under NCAA rules, but of whether he would want Kiffin's help, anyway.
"It's not possible from a legal standpoint, and it's not something we're interested in pursuing," Saban said, per the Alabama Media Group.
And with that, Kiffin has managed to make the divide between he and Saban even wider than his untimely exit made it.
Sarkisian, who coached with Kiffin at USC as offensive assistants under Pete Carroll, was added to the UA staff as an analyst in September, and Saban hired him as UA's new offensive coordinator in the days following Kiffin's acceptance of the FAU job. At the time, the plan was for Kiffin to continue coaching Alabama through the playoff, but that ended Monday when Saban announced Sarkisian would take over his new role for the title game.
After piloting the Crimson Tide to a 14-0 record with a freshman quarterback, you can bet Kiffin will have great interest in watching whether or not Sarkisian can land the plane safely where Alabama's offense is concerned. But if he wants to be there, it looks like he'll have to buy a ticket like anyone else.