NEW ORLEANS -- Although numerous coaching changes are occurring across pro and college football, Lane Kiffin already knows where he will be coaching next season: the same place he's coaching now.
Asked Monday morning whether the Alabama Crimson Tide offensive coordinator plans to return for a second season, Kiffin didn't hesitate to formulate his answer.
"Yes. Definitely," Kiffin said. "I think that we've still got a lot of stuff we can do better. We'll obviously be working with a new quarterback, and that will be exciting. We've done that before. To me, that's always exciting, the unknown. You've got a new quarterback to see if we can do this again, to see if we can perform really well."
Kiffin's rebound has been one of the biggest stories of the year in the SEC, as the former Oakland Raiders, Tennessee and USC head coach helped Alabama's offense post record-breaking passing numbers in his first season as a Nick Saban assistant.
"I do really like the college game because I do like the development of the kids. I like the stories in the game. ... You don't really get those in the NFL. It's more business, obviously. So I do like the college game better because of that."Lane Kiffin, Alabama offensive coordinator
It was considered a shocking move when Saban added Kiffin to his coaching staff in January, as the two men's personalities hardly seemed like a natural fit. Kiffin was fired midway through the 2013 season by USC.
"The phone wasn't ringing a lot. That's the reality," Kiffin recalled of his time as an unemployed coach. "Regardless of we all see ourselves in a different view a lot of times than others. I thought, 'Well, OK, probably not going to get a head-coaching job, but it will be easy to get an offensive coordinator job because of what we've done before and places we've been.'
"And like I said, the phone wasn't ringing. And he called. And he took a chance. I know he thought a lot about it. Because it wasn't going to be the popular, necessarily the media hire, as he's referred to before."
"Coach has recruited really well year in and year out, and so who are going to be the next guys up?" Kiffin asked. "Because we're going to lose the all-time leading receiver in the history of the school [Cooper], maybe after this game the all-time leading rusher in the history of the school [Yeldon] ... and now the quarterback who has had the most productive year in the history of the school.
"And we're going to lose them all at the same time. So that's a big challenge."
Kiffin seems to take the greatest pleasure in the job he did this season with Sims, a former running back who was overlooked for most of his Alabama career.
Instead, Sims won the job over Florida State transfer Jake Coker and wound up ranking second nationally in Total Quarterback Rating (88.5) entering the Crimson Tide's Thursday playoff matchup with Ohio State in the Allstate Sugar Bowl.
Stories like Sims' are why Kiffin said he is focused on his duties at Alabama instead of the coaching changes that occurred on Monday, the first day after the NFL's regular season concluded.
"I didn't even know what day it was today, so I'm guessing it's Black Monday. I haven't thought about it," Kiffin said. "I do really like the college game because I do like the development of the kids. I like the stories in the game. This Blake Sims story, I'm just hoping we can end it to make it just a great story for all time.
"You don't really get those in the NFL. It's more business, obviously. So I do like the college game better because of that."