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Lane Kiffin – How Do You Like Him Now?

While many Alabama fans may have felt ill when they heard the news that Kiffin was on the Alabama staff, most feel differently today.

Lane Kiffin – How Do You Like Him Now?
By – Larry Burton

When news came this spring that Lane Kiffin was not only joining the staff at Alabama, but taking control of the offense as offensive coordinator, many Alabama fans felt like they might throw up a little in their mouth.

Many were both public and loud in their objection to bringing this “bad boy” into the realm of Nick Saban’s process. This was a man who was both a loud mouth buffoon at times and a coach that showed bad judgment in many of his actions, publicly and privately.

He was not a round peg that needed to go in a square hole, he was misshaped mess that was thought not to be able to fit in any hole.

But the one thing that Alabama fans have come to learn and may be coming to terms with as far as acceptance is, Saban knows what he’s doing in almost everything, including picking coaches.

While most accepted that it was a win for Kiffin, with few schools willing to give him another head coaching gig after just being fired from his “dream job” and the prior messes he left behind at Tennessee and the NFL’s Oakland Raiders, few accepted that it would be a win for Alabama.

What a difference a little time and a big win over one of the SEC’s top defenses make. Now, if Saban allowed his assistants to publicly speak after a game, I could picture Kiffin asking the Alabama press, “So, how do you like me now?”

And with good reason and perhaps it’s time to look a few of them now.

Blake Sims was recruited as a running back, not a quarterback and in past seasons he didn’t show the promise of being an SEC starting quarterback in any shape or fashion. But just as he turned Johnathon Compton, a proverbial sow’s ear into a silk purse, he seems to be doing the same to Sims. And if that weren’t enough, he’s grooming another quarterback who hasn’t started a game into someone to rival Sims for the starting job in Jacob Coker.

He’s taken an offense that most Alabama fans were satisfied with and turned it into an offensive Juggernaut that just ran up 645 yards of offense on one of the best defenses in the SEC. Had his team executed his play calls without the four, count ’em, four turnovers, they could have easily put 73 points on Muschamp’s usually stingy defense.

This is something that this generation of Alabama fans have never seen before. Alabama is getting more yardage of offense from a running back turned quarterback and a never started a game backup than they’ve ever produced before during the Nick Saban era. With the defense ever improving as the secondary settles down, then this is seriously becoming a team that everyone in the media is talking about as not just a title contender, but another champion.

With the dizzying numbers being put up at Alabama, Kiffin certainly is redeeming himself as a head coach prospect and some down trodden team with a good defense will be looking for someone to turn the offense around and you can bet that Lane Kiffin is working his way back on many short lists.

Lately, it seems the fastest way to a head coaching job is by stopping for a while as the offensive coordinator at Alabama as was demonstrated by the last two to have that title, but I personally believe that Kiffin won’t jump at the first offer and won’t end up at Arkansas State or some such school.

He may just be at Alabama for another season or two and cement his legacy as a great offensive mind again and up his stock to the tune of a top collegiate head coaching job and what’s more, he will have earned it.

While many Alabama fans may still not want to share a beer and an evening with Lane Kiffin, they are now closet fans of the man and what he’s accomplishing at Tuscaloosa.

And if you think it’s just great timing with all the great receivers like Amari Cooper and great running backs that are making Kiffin look good, you’re intentionally overlooking the fact that Alabama what many thought was the worst quarterback situation in many years for a new quarterback to come in and take over. Instead, the quarterback play of both quarterbacks, but primarily the running back turned quarterback Blake Sims, that is making the offense purr like a well oiled machine and folks, that is all Lane Kiffin.

What was thought to be divisive quarterback battle has turned into two would be quarterbacks pushing and helping each other to be all that they can be and in return, this team is quickly becoming all that it can be.

For the upcoming opponents that just watched this team roll over the gritty Gator defense like it was a smooth cement freeway, a chill must have run up their spine because they know, as the do the Bama fans now, that both quarterbacks are only getting better and the offense may not yet be as good as it’s going to get.

Now that is indeed scary, nightmare scary and that’s all Lane Kiffin. Like him, love him or loath him, you’ll have to give him that. One Alabama fan may have summed up the feelings of a lot of Alabama fans when he said, “I don’t know if Kiffin’s over his douche bag stage or not, but I’m glad he’s our douche bag.”

And somehow, I don’t think Kiffin would mind that. At least he’s got the Alabama wondering now instead of being locked in on their opinions of him being the bad guy. But one thing’s for sure, if he keeps the offense humming along as it is, he’ll win over more and more each week until he’s almost, maybe even loved a little.

But in the end, it won’t matter to Kiffin what the approval meter is with the fans is. He’ll just be happy with the success and the possibilities that success will bring.

When he’s gone it will be surprising that a vast number of the people who gagged at the news of his hire will be ones who miss him once he’s left and gone on to another school. Then he can leave with the question, “How do you like me now?” and we can all go back to hating him once again and that too, is alright with Lane Kiffin. It’s a badge he seems to wear with pride for good or bad.

Follow Larry on Twitter for inside thoughts and game time comments at https://twitter.com/LBSportswriter

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