Earlier today, SB Nation’s Steven Godfrey reported that Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin is a candidate for the Houston head coaching job. That’s not a shock, as it had been previously reported, but there was this bit...
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.
He ain’t the smartest coach in the game for no reason, y’all. One way or another, Lane Kiffin will likely coach his final game for Alabama on Saturday night in Atlanta. As Godfrey reported, he will interview with Houston on Sunday — his competition for that job reportedly includes Les Miles, sitting Houston coordinators Todd Orlando and Major Applewhite, and Oklahoma offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley.
If he does not take the Houston job, or if its not offered it to him, I do expect Kiffin to be LSU’s next offensive coordinator. He was very much the coach Orgeron had in mind for the job in his opening presser, and I’m told the contract is more or less ready to go, awaiting his decision.
I do know that Orgeron has a backup list ready, of course, although things are being kept very quiet on the names. NOLA.com published this list, including names like Arizona State’s Chip Lindsey, USC’s Tee Martin and Arkansas’ Dan Enos. Martin, I purposely left off of my previous list, because A) he’s much less of a “spread” coordinator: although USC does run a very effective passing game that utilizes some spread concepts, they’re still what you’d call a “pro-style” team; and B) Martin reportedly very much loves LA, and has a potential No. 1 draft pick to work with in the Trojans’ Sam Darnold. As for Enos, the Arkansas play-caller has a non-compete clause in his contract for other SEC jobs. It prevented Kirby Smart from poaching him for Georgia last year. Could LSU get around that with some sort of “associate head coach” promotion or something of that nature? I can’t say for sure, but I would imagine Arkansas either accounted for that in Enos’ contract, or would be willing to match such an offer themselves.
As for the rest of the list, NOLA.com’s other coaching hire report, regarding USC special teams coach John Baxter, was shot down pretty hard on Friday morning by media in Baton Rouge. To date, there haven’t been any other names linked to that opening — I am told that LSU may look to bring longtime NFL assistant Bobby April in some capacity, but not as dedicated special teams coach — and I don’t believe there’s a rush to fill it. The rest of the LSU staff is working to fill Bradley Dale Peveto’s shoes on the recruiting trail, and I imagine somebody else on staff, or a GA, will handle special teams for the bowl game.
As for offensive coordinator, I would expect things to move quickly on the Kiffin front next week, as he will know soon if he’s a serious candidate for Houston or not. Otherwise, I still expect Steve Ensminger to call plays in the bowl game, although he is not a candidate for the position moving forward.