One of the biggest rivalries in college football could get even nastier if new LSU Tigers head coach Ed Orgeron gets his way. According to The Advocate, Orgeron has his sights set on Alabama Crimson Tide offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin to become his offensive coordinator with the Tigers. The publication also reports that LSU is willing to make Kiffin the highest-paid assistant coach in the country in order to make it happen.
3 to know:
-Herman told LSU at 5 a.m. was leaning to UT
-Orgeron to go after Lane Kiffin
-O’s pay likely $3-4Mhttps://t.co/SrpGCnIgKr
— The Advocate (@theadvocatebr) November 26, 2016
Kiffin and Orgeron have been friends for years ever since Ed was on Lane’s staff at USC beginning in 2010. In fact, Orgeron was named interim head coach of the Trojans following Kiffin’s firing in 2013 and Ed led USC to a 6-2 record to finish out the season at 9-4. Orgeron resigned following the season after the Trojans chose University of Washington head coach Steve Sarkisian to become the permanent head coach.
Three months after being fired by USC, Kiffin was invited down to Tuscaloosa, AL, in December 2013 to study the Alabama Crimson Tide’s offense. Lane spent eight days at Alabama and then was offered the offensive coordinator job by head coach Nick Saban in January 2014 after Doug Nussmeier left to take the offensive coordinator job at Michigan with Jim Harbaugh.
Prior to Kiffin joining Saban’s staff, the Crimson Tide finished 32nd in Division I-A total offense in 2013. In Lane’s first season on campus, Alabama finished ninth in 2014 and the offense followed that up by finishing 19th in 2015. Currently, Alabama has the No. 36 offense in the country in 2016, but the team is 11-0 entering Saturday’s matchup with Auburn despite having to start a true freshman quarterback in Jalen Hurts.
— Shea Dixon (@Sheadixon) November 26, 2016
The Tigers, on the other hand, entered Saturday’s action with the No. 61 total offense in the country, but the real struggle has been in the passing game as LSU only averaged 187.6 passing yards per game in 2016, which is currently 101st in the nation. Lane Kiffin is considered an offensive genius, but his skills would certainly be tested if he ends up leaving Alabama for LSU.
First on the list would be figuring out who would be the starting quarterback for the Tigers in 2017. Junior Danny Etling started nine games for LSU this season after transferring from Purdue. He completed 60 percent of his passes for 1,904 yards with nine touchdowns and only four interceptions while leading the Tigers to a 6-3 record in those nine starts.
Junior Brandon Harris began 2016 as the starting quarterback for the Tigers, but he struggled mightily in the team’s season-opening 16-14 loss to the Wisconsin Badgers. Harris only completed 12-of-21 passes against the Badgers for 131 yards while tossing one touchdown and two interceptions. After opening the following week’s game against Jacksonville State 1-for-4, Harris was benched in favor of Etling.
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) November 26, 2016
Other options for the Tigers would be redshirt freshman Justin McMillan, true freshman Lindsey Scott, Jr., redshirt freshman Caleb Lewis, and redshirt freshman Trey LaForge. According to ESPN, LSU also has two four-star prospects currently committed for 2017 in Saint James, LA, star Lowell Narcisse and Bay Saint Louis, MS, product Myles Brennan.
If Lane Kiffin were to join Ed Orgeron in Baton Rouge, he would receive a healthy pay raise, be given more freedom in play-calling, and wouldn’t have to deal with the wrath of Nick Saban when he screws up. If he were to stay in Tuscaloosa, he would be a contender for a national championship every year, get to continue to work with and develop Hurts, and have the best talent in the country to work with every year.
It will certainly be a tough call for Kiffin, and it’s not out of the question that some team could make the decision to offer him a head coaching job after his success at Alabama. It may be unlikely, but it’s certainly possible.
[Featured Image by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images]