Pete Thamel and Thayer Evans have a look at how Lane Kiffin’s hiring as offensive coordinator at Alabama came to be, with interest there dating back to 2007 (and, of course, involving Jimmy Sexton).
But Nick Saban invited Kiffin to Tuscaloosa for eight days in December, in which the ex-USC coach got an up-close look at the strongest program in college football. Apparently, Saban enjoyed the time enough that when Doug Nussmeier left for Michigan, Kiffin was a viable candidate to replace him.
In early January, before he got hired at Alabama, Kiffin went into detail with SI.com about what he learned from being ensconced in Saban’s world. When asked what impressed him, Kiffin asked, “How long you got?”
On Kiffin’s first night in town, he had a three-hour dinner at Saban’s house. Every night after that, they’d spend 15 minutes going over their respective notes on the day. Kiffin said Saban paid for his flight and hotel room.
“It was something neat Nick did knowing I was out here doing nothing,” Kiffin told SI.com in January. “It was good for both of us, and it was good for me to be around ball again.”