Lane Kiffin reportedly hasn't forgiven Alabama head coach Nick Saban for the way he was ousted in January 2017. One way he may seek revenge is by poaching Saban's coaches for his staff at Ole Miss after being named the school's head football coach over the weekend.
According to Aaron Suttles of The Athletic, "That dismissal fueled Kiffin's desire to return to the SEC and a burning passion to exact revenge on Saban, multiple people with knowledge of the matter told The Athletic."
As for the coaches he'll reportedly be pursuing, Suttles reported, "In his biggest coup attempt, Kiffin offered Alabama strength and conditioning coach Scott Cochran an on-the-field coaching position to try to steal him from Saban."
He also reportedly is interested in Crimson Tide secondary coach Karl Scott, former defensive coordinator Tosh Lupoi and former defensive line coach Bo Davis.
It won't stop there. Per that report, "He'll also target Saban on the recruiting trail."
Let the games begin.
Granted, a certain level of gamesmanship is to be expected in the cutthroat environment of the SEC. And given the overwhelming success Saban has had during his Alabama tenure, pursuing members of his staff may simply be a smart business move. Alabama is a well-oiled machine, and programs trying to build themselves into contenders should glean whatever they can from Saban's success.
Kiffin saw those inner machinations firsthand during his three years as the team's offensive coordinator. That job rebuilt his image after failed head coaching stops with the Oakland Raiders, Tennessee Volunteers and USC Trojans.
And Kiffin has credited Saban for how he runs his program:
"I think going to work for coach [Saban] was great for X’s and O’s and all that stuff, but really how he manages the program from top to bottom. I mentioned it (before), I feel like I was a head coach before, going back to USC and really I was the offensive coordinator, being the head coach and developing players, getting them to the NFL. Getting a lot of players drafted. Then I really changed and realized there is more to this, that's not my calling. My calling wasn't just to get guys drafted and get them a lot of money, it was to develop them off the field and have relationships with them and help them through things."
He took his success and the lessons he learned at Alabama and translated it to Florida Atlantic, going 26-13 in three seasons, including two double-digit-win campaigns. That doesn't mean, however, that Kiffin hasn't enjoyed tweaking Alabama publicly when he gets the chance:
So if Kiffin really is gunning for Alabama's current and former staff, it shouldn't come as a major surprise.