Even though the University of Alabama’s first scrimmage of the spring will be closed as usual, and Lane Kiffin hasn’t done a single interview with the local writers since being hired in January, some of his influences as the Crimson Tide’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach are beginning to be seen and felt in Tuscaloosa.
They can be broken down into three categories:
Kiffin helped the Crimson Tide close out the nation’s top recruiting class.
“He has a lot of relationships built up in recruiting from the various schools he has coached,” coach Nick Saban said. “It's very important to have the kind of offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach you can recruit to, someone young people want to play in that style of offense. That was an asset for us in helping get some of the offensive players we were able to attract.
“He does a really good job of presenting to the players how they are going to be used in the offense. They have a very clear picture of how they are going to be used. It was a real positive asset of him being involved in the short time he was involved recruiting this class.”
2. Identifying and developing Alabama’s next starting quarterback
This will obviously take a while to gauge, especially with Jacob Coker transferring from Florida State after graduating next month, but five others, including early enrollee David Cornwell are essentially getting one-on-one instruction this spring.
“It’s going to be a long time in us developing those players, not being so quick to criticize or quick to try to make a judgment or a decision on any one particular player, but to continue to try to have the patience to develop those guys into the kind of guys that can play winning football for us,” Saban said.
3. Running the offense
How different will it be under Kiffin?
“It's Saban, so it's going to be the same offense,” explained senior tight end Brian Vogler. “Obviously there's wrinkles. Every coach brings his own wrinkle to it but you're going to see the same stuff.
“Just a little bit more dynamic. (It's) hard to explain.”
Here, in the words of various Alabama players and Saban, is an attempt to do just that, with some of the changes they’ll be experiencing on Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium and fans will eventually see from the Crimson Tide offense: