The other fanbases in the SEC probably don’t have much love for Nick Saban, but they generally have to respect the man that has turned Alabama into the best program in the country. When Saban speaks football, he’s generally pretty spot on. However, when it comes to his new offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin, Tennessee fans are probably going to take umbrage with his reasoning for their contempt for the former Vols coach.
Nick Saban on Lane Kiffin: “Some people at Tennessee don’t like Lane because he did a good job & they didn’t want him to leave”
— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) July 17, 2014
On its face, that is a very basic explanation of the Tennessee-Kiffin relationship, but it leaves out the parts about Kiffin not being all that successful by SEC standards. In his one year in Knoxville, Kiffin went 7-6, including a blowout Chick-fil-A Bowl loss to Virginia Tech. His sudden departure to USC in the middle of a crucial recruiting cycle left Tennessee in a very tough spot, and the Derek Dooley era that resulted only dug the hole that the program had fallen into deeper.
Kiffin did an okay job at Tennessee, and the program had more hope with him there than it had before, but his untimely departure ultimately set the program back farther. Vols fans have a right to be mad about how things worked out.