Sark: Kiffin had little to do with loss to Clemson

Steve Sarkisian says Lane Kiffins departure didnt affect the Crimson Tide in the championship game.

John David Mercer—X02835
Jan 9

Steve Sarkisian’s first day on the job as Alabama’s offensive coordinator did not go as planned.Sarkisian was promoted to the top playcalling role one week before Monday night’s College Football Playoff Championship against Clemson after coach Nick Saban decided to let outgoing offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin go early.Despite an inconsistent outing for true freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts and a Crimson Tide offense that stalled for portions of the team’s eventual 35-31 loss to the Tigers, Sarkisian insists that Kiffin’s departure had little impact on the outcome.”I really don’t think the transition had that much of an impact,” Sarkisian told ESPN.”The week of practice went really well. I wish we would have played a little better. I wished I could have called a better game and helped us to not be in the position we were in late.”Hurts broke loose for a 30-yard touchdown run with 2:07 remaining to give Alabama a 31-28 lead, but Clemson’s Deshaun Watson orchestrated a game-winning touchdown drive capped off by a two-yard touchdown pass to Hunter Renfrow with one second left.Hurts finished 13 of 31 with 131 yards and one touchdown pass and the Crimson Tide offense was outgained by the Tigers 511-376 despite a 93-yard, two touchdown effort from running back Bo Scarborough, who left the game after breaking a bone in his right leg.Sarkisian, who had been serving as an offensive analyst for Alabama this season, was promoted to offensive coordinator after Kiffin was hired as the next head coach at Florida Atlantic.Kiffin remained with the Crimson Tide for their 24-7 win over Washington in the CFP semifinals before Saban cut him loose after deciding he had become a distraction.During the game, Kiffin posted a picture of himself on Twitter wearing Crimson Tide pants and expressed his support for Alabama.Reuters/The Sports Xchange contributed to this report.