Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin will interview for Houston’s vacant head coaching position after the Tide’s SEC Championship against Florida, multiple sources told SB Nation. UH needs a coach to replace Tom Herman, who took the Texas job after two seasons that included a 5-0 record against power-conference teams.
Kiffin, also being courted by LSU to join Ed Orgeron’s staff as offensive coordinator, will meet with Houston Sunday. Also under heavy consideration are interim head coach Todd Orlando, offensive coordinator Major Applewhite, former LSU head coach Les Miles, and Oklahoma offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley.
Multiple sources have also confirmed to SB Nation that Alabama head coach Nick Saban is actively promoting Kiffin to Houston, ostensibly to keep his OC from jumping to a division rival next season.
Kiffin is in his third season as Alabama’s offensive coordinator, and this has been his unit’s best yet while he’s been in that role.
Before Tuscaloosa, Kiffin was a three-time head coach: with the Oakland Raiders, Tennessee, and USC. He left all three of those jobs on rough terms. Raiders owner Al Davis fired him in a dramatic press conference in the middle of the 2008 season, his second in that job.
He went to Tennessee afterward, and he bolted for USC after one 7-6 season. He went 28-15 at USC from 2010 to 2013, and USC fired him midseason. Kiffin seemed to enjoy exacting revenge on his former employer with a 52-6 Alabama win to open this season.
At Alabama, Kiffin’s undergone something of a transformation, and that he’s a head coaching candidate now isn’t surprising. Kiffin has been key in Alabama’s installation of the spread offense quarterback Jalen Hurts has run so well as a true freshman.
The Tide scored 39.4 points per game during a 12-0 regular season, up from 37 and 35 in Kiffin’s first two years as their coordinator. (Alabama’s defense and special teams have chipped in plenty, too.) The offense is averaging 6.6 yards per play, 18th in the country, but grades out as a top-10 unit by S&P+.
Houston is searching for a replacement for Tom Herman, who left to take the head coaching job at Texas. A bunch of other names have found their way into the rumor mill, and they’re bigger names than what’s typical for a non-power conference job.