Lane Kiffin

FAU Hires Lane Kiffin As Head Coach

Recently, Lane Kiffin was identified as a potential candidate for NFL offensive coordinator jobs in the offseason. It turns out that he will not be available for interested teams. Kiffin has signed on as Florida Atlantic University’s new head coach, according to Brett McMurphy and Chris Low of ESPN (on Twitter). Lane Kiffin (vertical)

Kiffin, who has reestablished himself as an offensive guru after some terrific work with Alabama, was rumored to be the new head coach at Houston. However, UH went in a different direction and hired Major Applewhite. Kiffin conceivably could have stepped back into the professional ranks, but for now he’ll stick with college ball.

As the head coach of the Raiders, Kiffin went 5-15 before he was fired midway through the 2008 season. Still just 41, Kiffin may look to return to the NFL someday for redemption. For now, he’ll try and reignite FAU after a disappointing 3-9 season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Alabama OC Lane Kiffin Drawing NFL Interest

Will Lane Kiffin return to the NFL in 2017? After successfully guiding Alabama’s offense, pro teams are taking notice of him and he could be an offensive coordinator candidate, Albert Breer of The MMQB writes. Lane Kiffin (vertical)

I think he’d instantly upgrade an NFL offense, he’s arguably one of the best offensive minds in the game,” said one area scout assigned to the Tide. “He’s able to adapt in terms of personnel. The offense this year is completely different in style and play-calling than it was last year with [Derrick] Henry.”

Kiffin first made a name for himself as USC’s bold offensive coordinator. In 2007, the Raiders hired the 31-year-old Kiffin to be their head coach, making him the youngest man to hold that job in the NFL since 1946. Unfortunately, Kiffin went 5-15 with the Raiders and his Oakland sojourn ended with an acrimonious split.

Years later, however, Kiffin has restored his reputation as an offensive guru. Alabama is 12-0 and in the hunt for yet another national title despite leaning on true freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts. Kiffin has been widely connected to LSU, but Breer says he is expected to get NFL calls if he is not hired quickly by the Tigers.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

West Notes: Rams, Britt, Kiffin, Chargers

The Rams’ biggest needs are at quarterback and along the offensive line, but after that the team could look to add depth at linebacker and corner, writes Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com. Especially at cornerback, he notes that the need does not seem pressing, but with both Janoris Jenkins and Trumaine Johnson reaching free agency in 2015, the team could use some young corners behind them.

More about the AFC and NFC West:

  • The Rams are considering a contract extension for wide receiver Kenny Britt, and Wagoner surmises that the troubled playmaker will command somewhere in the $4-$5MM range.
  • The 49ers were reportedly interested in bringing Alabama Crimson Tide offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin in to fill their offensive coordinator opening, but will have to look elsewhere as the University of Alabama have announced that Kiffin will be returning to Nick Saban’s staff in 2015, reports Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury New. Kiffin has former head coaching experience with the Raiders, as well as USC and the University of Tennessee.
  • The Chargers have refuted a report by Andy Strickland of CBS Sports radio 920 AM in St. Louis that the team has a deal in place for a new stadium in Los Angeles, writes Eric D. Williams of ESPN.com“Although we have worked for years with Goldman Sachs as our investment banker, the remainder of the story is untrue,” said special counsel with inside knowledge of the team’s stadium plans Mark Fabiani.

Latest On Teams Still Seeking OCs

There’s been plenty of turnover among the offensive coordinator ranks around the NFL already this offseason, with about a third of the league’s franchies hiring new OCs so far — 10 teams have hired replacements for their old coordinators, while the Cowboys are technically the 11th to install a new OC, having given Scott Linehan the official title that Bill Callahan previously held.

As our coordinator search tracker shows, even after those 11 teams have made changes, there are still three clubs with vacancies at the position, though it’s possible only two of those clubs will actually make a hire. Here’s the latest on the three teams still without an offensive coordinator:

San Francisco 49ers

The Niners have already added one notable name to their offensive staff, hiring ex-Raiders interim coach Tony Sparano as their tight ends coach, but are still in need of a coordinator to oversee the offense. The club pursued former Broncos OC Adam Gase before he landed with the Bears, which leaves three candidates who have been linked to the club since the hiring of head coach Jim Tomsula: Mike Shanahan, Lane Kiffin, and Rob Chudzinski.

Shanahan’s name came up about a week ago, but he hasn’t received much buzz since then, and it looks to me as if Kiffin and Chudzinski are the favorites for the position. In fact, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported over the weekend that Kiffin appeared to be the frontrunner. Since then, the Colts have rebuffed San Francisco’s attempt to speak to Chudzinski, which would seem to further solidify Kiffin as a top option, but we shouldn’t rule out the Colts assistant quite yet. Alex Marvez of Fox Sports reports (via Twitter) that Chudzinski’s contract with Indianapolis expires on Monday, at which point he’s expected to interview with the 49ers and Rams.

St. Louis Rams

As noted above, the Rams are expected to interview Colts assistant Rob Chudzinski when his contract with Indianapolis expires on Monday, and the fact that both San Francisco and St. Louis are willing to wait on Chudzinski suggests he’s a viable candidate for both clubs. Like the 49ers, the Rams had interest in Adam Gase and have been declined permission to speak to Chudzinski until now — St. Louis was also turned away when the team attempted to speak to Packers assistant Alex Van Pelt, and has seen a number of potential targets, including Greg Roman and Kyle Shanahan, land jobs with other clubs.

Still, the Rams did interview a candidate this week, in former Bills OC Nathaniel Hackett. Perhaps at this point Hackett is a top target by default, but a Thursday report indicated that the team may be comfortable promoting an in-house coach into the OC role. Tight ends coach Rob Boras and quarterbacks coach Frank Cignetti are viewed as strong candidates who are already on the staff, per Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, who adds that Boras would probably get the nod over Cignetti if the Rams stay in house.

Houston Texans

The Texans didn’t have an offensive coordinator on staff in 2014, with head coach Bill O’Brien serving as the de facto OC. Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com reported earlier in the week that Houston could add an OC to the staff for 2015, but there has been no news on that front since La Canfora addressed the topic. The CBSSports.com scribe noted that Doug Marrone would be a strong candidate for such a position, so the fact that Marrone ultimately accepted a non-OC job in Jacksonville suggests the Texans may not be hiring an OC after all. Nonetheless, it’s a situation worth monitoring.

Coordinator Updates: Kiffin, Gase, Musgrave

Let’s take a look at a few notes regarding various coordinator vacancies:

  • ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweets that Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin has emerged as the favorite to land the 49ers offensive coordinator opening, with Colts special assistant Rob Chudzinski also under consideration.
  • Citing ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, ESPN.com’s Bill Williamson tweets that Eagles QB coach Bill Musgrave has become a “hot contender” for the Raiders‘ offensive coordinator position.
  • Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets that Jim Schwartz will be very selective in choosing his next job, as he has two contract years left. CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora adds (via Twitter) that he would not be surprised if Schwartz sat out the 2015 season altogether, though things may have been different if the Cowboys‘ defensive coordinator job had become available.
  • Rapoport tweets that Adam Gase is interviewing with the Jaguars today regarding their offensive coordinator vacancy, but he reiterates that the Raiders, Rams, Falcons, and Bears all have permission to talk to Gase. La Canfora, though, tweets that he would be surprised to see Gase land with Chicago or Oakland, where he would be reunited with former Denver coaches.
  • The Falcons are impressed with Gase, whom Teryl Austin would bring with him if Austin were hired as Atlanta’s head coach, according to a tweet from La Canfora. Although we heard earlier today that Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn has established himself as the presumptive favorite for the Falcons’ head coaching vacancy, La Canfora tweets that, if Seattle wins today, Atlanta will have to weigh the risks of waiting two weeks to hire Quinn and possibly missing out on top coaching candidates like Gase.

Coach Updates: Spagnuolo, 49ers, Shanahan

New Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo has a huge task ahead of him, writes Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News. While Vacchiano believes that head coach Tom Coughlin made a great decision going into his past to hire his best defensive coordinator. The tough part is that Spagnuolo will have to match his past success without stars such as Michael Strahan, Justin Tuck, and Osi Umenyiora.

  • There are a number of Giants players who could improve under Spagnuolo’s tutelage, writes Nick Powell of NJ.com. Howell picks out Johnathan Hankins, Antrel Rolle, Jason Pierre-Paul, Robert Ayers, and Jameel McClain as guys who may benefit.
  • The 49ers are looking for a new offensive coordinator after Greg Roman joined the Bills, and Colts offensive assistant Rob Chudzinski is well positioned to take over, writes Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports (via Twitter).
  • Other candidates for the offensive coordinator position with the 49ers include former head coaches Mike Shanahan and Lane Kiffin, reports Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News. Shanhan was once thought of in the mix for head coaching jobs, and Kiffin would be coming from the University of Alabama.
  • 49ers offensive assistant Ronald Curry will have an opportunity to stay with the team as the wide receivers coach, reports Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com (via Twitter). Curry has not been given permission by the team to interview for the Bills, where he could have rejoined offensive coordinator Roman (via Twitter).
  • Former Browns offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan almost was hired in Baltimore a year ago, and if Gary Kubiak leaves the Ravens to take the Broncos head coaching job, the team could revisit Shanahan, writes Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun. The team is still impressed with his strong interview last year.

Extra Points: Peterson, Kiffin, Draft, Jets

In a 35-page document filed Friday, the NFL asked a federal court to throw out the NFLPA’s petition to have Vikings running back Adrian Peterson‘s suspension overturned, writes Dave Campbell of the Associated Press. Citing labor law, the league argues that there is no reason to “re-litigate all of the decisions” made by arbitrator Harold Henderson on December 12. The trial is scheduled for February 6, while Peterson is currently suspended through at least April 15. Let’s look at some more notes from around the NFL…

  • We heard earlier today that Mike Shanahan could be “in play” for the 49ers offensive coordinator job, and now another interesting candidate has emerged. A league source tells Cam Inman of the Mercury News that Lane Kiffin could be interested in returning to the NFL, and posits San Francisco as a possible destination. Kiffin, the OC at Alabama, was the Raiders head coach from 2007-08.
  • 86 underclassmen have declared for this year’s draft, a 20% decrease from 2014, tweets Troy Vincent, the NFL’s executive director of football operations. Those declaring have until Monday to withdrawal and reclaim their eligibility.
  • Following the news that Jets director of college scouting (and former GM) Terry Bradway was fired, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com looks back the executives many missteps during his time leading Gang Green. Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News takes a different tack (Twitter links), noting that Bradway heavily pushed to draft Darrelle Revis, and wanted to select Russell Wilson.
  • USA Today examines how each of the four remaining playoff teams were built, noting that each club contains forward-thinking personnel men, strong drafting decisions, and top-notch quarterbacks.