What Should Lane Kiffin's First Step as Alabama Offensive Coordinator Be?

Michael Felder@InTheBleachersNational CFB Lead WriterJanuary 13, 2014

USA Today

The first move for new Alabama Crimson Tide offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin is the easiest step in The Process: Do whatever Nick Saban asks.

With confirmation coming from the official Twitter of Alabama football, the often-criticized Kiffin found a home in Tuscaloosa on Saban's staff. 'Bama's head coach, a man who schedules things to the minute and possesses total control over the program, does not make mistakes. He doesn't go out to make a splash. He hires people whom he trusts and who fit into his regime.

Lane Kiffin is, now, one of these people.

Despite the low-hanging fruit rooted in the widespread anti-Kiffin sentiment that exists all over the collegiate landscape, Kiffin's a good fit. He does exactly what Saban appreciates in coaches: works hard, loves to be in the film room, recruits his behind off, enjoys the X's and O's and is a good teacher of the game.

The key for the Kiffin and Alabama marriage to work is for the former Tennessee and USC head coach to fall back into the coordinator role. That means taking instruction, handling tasks and putting all of his energy into developing players that fall under his new umbrella.

Like every other Alabama assistant, Kiffin will be on media silence, something that is as beneficial for Kiffin as it is for the school. Saban controls the message, and Kiffin avoids the painful media interactions that have been one of his biggest problems as a head coach. 

As Barrett Sallee noted prior to the Kiffin hiring, the move would be about the coach adjusting to Alabama; not Alabama adjusting to the new coach. That adjustment has to be Kiffin's initial move. That means understanding The Process and operating within it; not pushing to change the system that's delivered multiple national championships.

Mario Cristobal found his niche at Alabama.
Mario Cristobal found his niche at Alabama.Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Former Alabama offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier adjusted. Former FIU head coach and current Alabama offensive line coach Mario Cristobal adjusted. Lane Kiffin will be the next guy to adjust.

Or he won't last on Saban's staff.

Much like Nussmeier, Kiffin brings a core philosophy that revolves around a pass-heavy, West Coast-influenced system. And, much like Nussmeier, Kiffin will have his quarterbacks handing the ball off to T.J. Yeldon, Derrick Henry and Kenyan Drake. That is the Alabama way, and more importantly, that is Nick Saban's way.

TUSCALOOSA, AL - OCTOBER 24:  Head coach Nick Saban (L) of the Alabama Crimson Tide shakes hands with head coach Lane Kiffin (R) of the Tennessee Volunteers after the Crimson Tide's 12-10 win at Bryant-Denny Stadium on October 24, 2009 in Tuscaloosa, Alab
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Process works, and as Saban welcomes Kiffin into the fold, the smart move for the new coordinator is to get with the program. Expect the coach to do just that, and for this to be a compatible relationship. Saban gets a solid offensive mind. Kiffin just gets to coach, sidestepping the headaches of being at the top.

Everybody wins.