Lane Kiffin has moved on from his days as Alabama’s offensive coordinator, where he spent three seasons before accepting the head coaching job at Florida Atlantic. One of Kiffin’s most memorable moments during his time in Tuscaloosa, aside from the “ass-chewings” he got from Nick Saban, was the time when Bama’s team busses left him — twice.
The first time they left him in the dust was after Alabama’s 2016 national championship victory over the Clemson Tigers. Then the following year after the Tide’s win over Washington in the Peach Bowl Semifinal, it happened again. In a recent interview with ESPN.com, Kiffin says that at his new job in Boca Raton, he thinks this time around, his team bus won’t be leaving without him.
"I would like to think now that I'm the head coach that the bus won't leave you anymore," Kiffin said via ESPN.
Kiffin, like he’s suggested before, says that it would be silly for him not to model his program after what Saban has at Alabama.
"We joke about Coach Saban and my time there, but how dumb would I be not to copy a lot of what Nick Saban did?" Kiffin said. "He's the best head coach in college football right now.”
That doesn’t mean he’ll do things exactly the way Saban does in T-Town — Kiffin is putting his own spin on things with his fourth head coaching gig at FAU.
"It's nice to hear a little music on the practice field. That didn't happen in Tuscaloosa," Kiffin said.
After it was announced that he would not coach Alabama in the National Championship game against Clemson following the semifinal win, Kiffin downplayed the second bus incident.
“The missing the bus thing, the media was there, and we’re sitting there at media day and I was doing every interview that I was supposed to do. I walked straight from there out and the bus had already left. They had other cars there for us, too, it really wasn’t that big of a deal. There was no distractions as far as that or anything like that.”
Kiffin, who left Alabama before the Tide’s national title game against Clemson, which it lost 35-31, says he wondered while watching if him being on the field would’ve made a difference.
"And it became a one-play game, so of course your mind goes, 'Well, would it have made a difference [if I were there]?’” Kiffin told ESPN.com.
Kiffin and Saban didn’t see eye-to-eye on everything during their three years together, and very few coaching relationships are perfect. The two are still disagreeing on some things even after their time has come to an end. Most recently, after Saban said he thought the Bama coaching staff “protected” quarterback Jalen Hurts last season, which didn’t allow him to develop at the end of the year, Kiffin openly disagreed with Saban.
But it’s clear that both learned a lot from each other. For Saban, he’s since moved on to former New England Patriots assistant Brian Daboll as the Tide’s new offensive coordinator. At FAU, Kiffin has the chance to show us all just how much three seasons with Saban really taught him.