Florida Atlantic coach Lane Kiffin has expressed interest in the Florida State job, according to CBSSports.com’s Dennis Dodd.
That’s a relationship both sides should explore, and not just because it would be entertaining for the rest of us. Kiffin is one of the eight potential candidates Sporting News has listed for the job.
Florida State fired Willie Taggart on Sunday, one day after the Seminoles lost 27-10 to Miami in a game that barely registered on the national radar. Taggart had a 9-11 record in his second season. That quick hook might scare away some potential coaching candidates for the opening. Kiffin is not one of those people, and the home run candidates such as Bob Stoops and Urban Meyer are next to impossible to reel in.
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Unlike his past head coaching jobs with the NFL’s Oakland Raiders (2007-08), Tennessee (2009) and USC (2010-13), Kiffin deserves this opportunity. Keep in mind he was 35-21 at Tennessee and USC, which isn’t bad when you consider the state of the programs when he took the job. He has been even better since a three-year stint as Alabama’s offensive coordinator, which he parlayed into the Florida Atlantic job.
The Owls are 22-13 since he took over as head coach in 2017. Florida State, in case you are wondering, is 16-18 in the same time frame.
Yes, those are different jobs with different expectations, but Kiffin already has a connection with FSU offensive coordinator Kendal Briles, who was at Florida Atlantic in 2017 when the Owls ranked No. 8 in scoring offense with 40.6 points per game.
Kiffin has had three years to refine his recruiting pitch in one of college football’s most talent-rich recruiting grounds, and he is good with quarterbacks. He has also been rumored to be in the mix for SEC coaching openings for the past two coaching carousels, but a move to the ACC Atlantic might be more beneficial for his coaching career given the stigma of how those stints with the Raiders, Volunteers and Trojans ended.
On Florida State’s end, it makes sense to give this a look. The Seminoles have bottomed out the last three seasons, going 1-10 against ranked teams in that stretch. The program has been more punchline than powerhouse.
At this point in his career, Kiffin has been more effective at dealing punchlines on social media than taking hits for his past coaching stops. The 44-year-old simply did the career path in version.
Kiffin, however, isn’t falling upward. He’s simply exploring a situation that makes sense for both sides.