Published: Sat, January 07, 2017
Sport | By Desiree Waters

Saban taking chance by cutting ties with Kiffin prior to title game

Alabama beat Clemson 45-40 in last year's national championship game. He knows the players.

"It's hard sometimes when you're in a situation when you have a new opportunity and a new job, and we mutually agreed that in the best interest of everyone that this would be the best thing for us to do relative to the experience that we had in preparation for Washington and playing in the game", Saban said.

Jalen Hurts the star quarterback for Alabama threw for only 57 yards last week in the Tide's 24-7 win against Washington. The legendary Alabama Crimson Tide head coach, Saban, fired his offensive coordinator, Lane Kiffin, just a week before the biggest game of the year and the arguably the most important his kids will ever play in. The timing of the decision is a odd one given the late stage of the game, here, but there were clearly tensions behind the scenes with Kiffin.

"Alex Leatherwood practiced for the first time today, (and) I know we had three guys come in, two passed their physicals and were able to go on the field", Saban said Wednesday. He knows the offense. The Crimson Tide meets Clemson for the title Monday night, and Saban will be in front of the sportswriters and other media members following the game.

Taking over the play-calling duties from former offensive coordinator and current Florida Atlantic head coach Lane Kiffin is Steve Sarkisian - who has served as an offensive analyst for the Tide this season.

Last week, Saban emphasized that the primary job of his coaches is to put players in position to successfully execute the game plan.

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"I don't have any failsafe".

When some are complaining about the number of bowls, whether they mean anything anymore or not, or just simply don't care to watch Eastern Michigan and Old Dominion battle it out in the Popeyes Bahamas Bowl (ODU's running back Ray Lawry averaged 5.8 yards per run and was fun to watch), this bowl season was especially good to me because this was the season where I stopped to actually listen to Nick Saban.

"We're moving forward and we're looking forward and everybody is going to do everything they can to support the people that are here now to make it work".

Saban was asked several times last week about his relationship with Kiffin, including during Friday's coaches' pregame press conference. "Our whole coaching staff has been here all year".

"It's the only thing we know", Alabama senior defensive end Jonathan Allen said. And I have a lot of faith, trust and confidence in them and what we're doing and what we're going to do; and the carryover it has for the players and our ability to teach and try to help them to execute a little better so that we can have a little more consistency in the game. "We know when we get into a tough game in the second half that we're ready for anything". We will find out if a coach who hasn't called plays in two years is part of the aforementioned "everything". "Sark and I think nearly exactly alike".

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