Lane Kiffin used his introductory press conference as FAU’s head coach to show that he has grown and matured while digging deep into the rite of “coach speak.”
Brick by brick. Not interested in sending messages. There to build championships. There will be work. “We,” not “I.” Commitment to winning.
If you were playing Coach Speak Bingo, there is a high probability you connected five in a row while Lane Kiffin took center stage at his introductory press conference as the new head coach at FAU.
This was a different Kiffin, a toned-down Kiffin, and, just maybe, a more mature Kiffin that was appreciative of the chance to become a head coach again.
He said all the right things, such as being more excited about this head coaching position than his previous three. Whether you buy it or not, considering the earlier stops were with the Oakland Raiders, Tennessee, and USC, it doesn’t matter. Kiffin said it with conviction, and if he can get his players and assistant coaches to buy in, that’s all that matters.
“This is somewhere where you go do something special. That was obvious in the meetings.”
For all the talk of his supposed immaturity – the trolling he does on Twitter doesn’t help – and baggage, Kiffin temporarily put any concerns to rest by handling his opening statement and answers to the media like a professional.
His three years under the tutelage of Nick Saban was apparent, as “The Process” found its way into his vocabulary two or three times. It also seemed that Kiffin had graduated from the Saban School of Talking With Your Hands, using them to express his emotions and get his point across. He, of course, thanked Saban for the opportunity back in 2013, saying, “My phone wasn’t ringing much at the time after USC.” He followed that up by promising that he will be back in Tuscaloosa for the 7:30 a.m. coaches meeting Wednesday morning.
Kiffin even snuck in a reference to Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon and his motto of “embrace the target.” Whether or not he was talking about the target on his back or the one that will now be on the Owls program was unclear.
Near the beginning of the press conference, there was a sign that this wouldn’t be the Kiffin from the past.
“You don’t get what you want. You get what you deserve,” Kiffin said.
Whether or not he deserved the past head coaching opportunities, can long be debated. But with personal growth on and away from the field, at this moment he is right where he belongs at FAU.