In what surely will sound like the Most Lane Kiffin Thing Ever, Kiffin walked out of the University of Phoenix Stadium only to see the team’s four buses pulling away. Kiffin was in mid-sentence, talking about his relationship with Alabama QB Jake Coker — “My bus is leaving,” Kiffin said. “That’s not good.”
They can’t leave without Kiffin, could they?
“They’re leaving right now.”
Kiffin whistled to a security guard about 50 yards away to stop the last bus. He hustled after it, but it was to no avail. He and his younger brother, Chris — Ole Miss’ defensive line coach — were now stranded at the stadium.
“First, I get fired on the tarmac, and now I get left behind at the national championship,” Kiffin said, half-jokingly, referring to his USC ouster.
Kiffin tried to figure out what he and his brother were going to do for a ride. A TV camera followed him.
“Who is that guy?” a motorcycle cop just outside the stadium asked, observing the curious scene.
The cop, a local police officer, standing by his bike in front of a black Yukon, was unaware that Kiffin was the Tide’s play caller. As Kiffin returned, he headed for the backseat of the Yukon. It was waiting for his boss, Nick Saban.
The younger Kiffin brother conceded he’d never met Saban before (even though he’s coached against him and his team has beaten him each of the past two years).
Asked if he saw any irony in the moment — being left behind, Kiffin just shrugged. “Hey, it is what it is.”