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Lane Kiffin out as Alabama offensive coordinator before the National Championship

Steve Sarkisian will assume the duties immediately.

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In a deviation from the original plan, Lane Kiffin will not call plays for Alabama in the National Championship. Instead, he’ll head to FAU early and assume his head coaching duties.

The timing of this is fairly interesting. Kiffin was originally slated to stick around. Former Bama assistants Jim McElwain and Kirby Smart stuck around for the Tide balancing their new head-coaching duties and coordinator responsibilities in Tuscaloosa. Nick Saban called this a “mutual agreement” on ESPN, but it’ll raise some eyebrows no matter what.

During the run-up to the semis, Kiffin made some ripples with his pregame comments about the culture in Tuscaloosa. He was asked about fun, and answered in jest.

“Fun? ... Yeah. We don’t use that word a lot.”

Kiffin also had other comments about the Tide’s culture.

"I don't recall a happy moment. I just recall the ass chewings. I won't take that part of the process with me (to FAU), though."

The comments were again delivered jokingly, but to act like there isn’t a kernel of truth would ignore, well, the ass chewings.

FOX sport’s Bruce Feldman also wasn’t surprised by the news.

Now Saban won’t have to deal with any potential distraction Kiffin may cause in Tampa with mics in his face.

Kiffin didn’t exactly cover himself in glory during the semifinal either with playcalling. Alabama’s offense sputtered against Washington, and any Twitter search for “Lane” during the game would have shown a volley of tweets asking why the Tide weren’t feeding running back Bo Scarbrough more often.

Now the responsibility will fall to former Washington and USC coach Steve Sarkisian. Sark has been an offensive analyst with the Crimson Tide, but not a formal position coach or coordinator on the Tide staff. He was already tapped to replace Kiffin after the title game.

He didn’t exactly impress folks with his playcalling at previous head coaching stops.

To be fair to Sark, offensive game planning during the week is not just one man’s job. Staffs huddle together to devise a plan, and playcalling is often a bit of a group effort in-game as well, but the buck will stop with Sarkisian. The blame will go squarely on his shoulders if Bama’s offense struggles in the title game as well.