TEMPE, Ariz. – With all the attention in the state of Alabama focused on one person for the Crimson Tide’s vacant offensive coordinator post, another name was dropped in the hat Thursday morning.
According to a story on AL.com, the University of Alabama plans on targeting former Tide quarterback and current Arizona Cardinals quarterbacks coach Freddie Kitchens as its next offensive coordinator.
However, an NFL source said it’s unlikely Kitchens returns to his alma mater.
Kitchens played at Alabama from 1993-97 and was the Tide’s starter his last three seasons. In 1997, he was coached by former Alabama offensive coordinator Bruce Arians – the Cardinals' current head coach. Kitchens still ranks among Alabama’s top quarterbacks statistically.
While Kitchens to Alabama isn’t completely a dead end, the Tide may be able to bolster its case by opening their checkbook. According to the University of Alabama’s Division of Financial Affairs, former Crimson Tide offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier took home $797,500 in 2013. It’s unknown how much Kitchens makes, but Alabama may need to top $1 million to lure him away from the NFL.
Kitchens has been with the Cardinals since 2007 as their tight ends and quarterbacks coach. He was one of two coaches Arians retained when he was hired a year ago. Under Kitchens’ tutelage, Cardinals starting quarterback Carson Palmer threw for a career-high 4,274 yards this season.
If Kitchens and Alabama do pair up for next season, he has the experience of working with Arians, who’s widely considered one of the top offensive minds in the NFL.
According to that AL.com story, it’s likely that Alabama will interview former USC, University of Tennessee and Oakland Raiders head coach Lane Kiffin as early as Thursday for its offensive coordinator job.