Friday night in Boca Raton looked very familiar with Lane Kiffin back in a white pullover and visor, as a head coach. And unfortunately for FAU, the result in his debut was more of what we’ve seen too, as the Owls were wiped out by Navy 42-19.
When last we saw Kiffin in charge, his USC Trojan team was destroyed by Arizona State and he was fired by then athletic director, Pat Haden on the tarmac at the airport in the middle of the night. Yes, it had gotten that bad and obvious that he needed to be gone.
He’s not in that kind of danger yet at FAU. Heck, it’s one game.
Yet, that one game on Friday night kind of sums up what we’ve seen before not only at Southern Cal, but previously, with the Raiders in the NFL and his one year with the Vols at Tennessee. When, Kiffin is on the sideline, the cameras are on him, he’s always looking at his lamented card, and he frequently likes to put his arms up to prematurely celebrate a long pass that he thinks will be a TD (he did that Friday night too).
Oh, and then his team gives up a ton of yards and points, just as they did Friday night.
Look, Kiffin is going to still get FAU attention, and that’s the big reason why Florida Atlantic pursued him so heavily to pump life into a program that has been floundering for the last few years.
And there’s no doubt, he knows how to game plan and call plays.
But, being a head coach requires, so much more. From recruiting the right players, fundraising, instilling discipline, managing your own staff, etc., it’s a tough job at the highest level of college football.
And, here’s the other reality, at this point, Kiffin has more baggage from previous job stops and bad endings (Alabama this past January included) fill up an airport carousel. And, that’s not changing.
Another indication of what FAU has gotten themselves into happened in the unusual circumstance of multiple lightning delays during the game Friday night. After the game had already been delayed twice by lightning in the area and it was well after 12:30 a.m., the officials came to Kiffin and FAU’s administration with them down 42-19 and the crowd long gone and asked about ending the game. He wouldn’t agree to do it.
So the game resumed after 1 a.m. with no one in the stands to finish out and it made zero difference in the outcome.
One of the best analogies that can be made is that Lane Kiffin’s coaching brand, is it has become like Paris Hilton’s celebrity status was earlier this century. At some point, the public realizes you can’t sing, act, you don’t have business skill, or really anything of value that keeps you relevant in Hollywood, on TV, the internet, etc.
She essentially was famous for just being from a famous family and having a famous name.
That doesn’t last.
Kiffin continues live off his famous name, and certainly, not off his head coaching record.
At some point and maybe soon, FAU will realize what the Raiders, USC and even Nick Saban did, your record is your record, and the antics/baggage aren’t worth it.
Put your arms up for TD passes in progress all you want.
A 42-19 loss is still a 42-19 loss.