Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin says he is still 'rooting for' USC

Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin says he is still 'rooting for' USC
Alabama Offensive Coordinator Lane Kiffin works out during pregame warm-ups before a game against Mississippi State on Nov. 15. (Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images)

Lane Kiffin was the featured attraction Monday at a news conference leading up to the Sugar Bowl.

Alabama's offensive coordinator addressed the media for only the second time this season.

I asked the former USC coach if he still followed the Trojans and what he misses about USC.

In his answer, he mentioned Trojans Coach Steve Sarkisian, Athletic Director Pat Haden, defensive lineman Leonard Williams and receiver Nelson Agholor, and that he was "rooting" for USC.

Here's his full answer:

"We don't have a lot of time to follow much. I do once in awhile catch some stuff, like we got out of our meeting and I caught, it must have been the fourth quarter [of the Holiday Bowl] or something like that.

"I talked to Sark the night before the game down there. I actually talked to Pat a couple times too over the last month or so. So rooting for them.

"Nelson sent me a great text last night, a long text. Anytime that you go through what we went through and you recruit kids as the head coach to a program, you want to see those guys have success. It's not, 'Well if they lose then they're going to write that it was because of me, whatever, any of that.' It's none of that.

"To see them have success. To see Leonard Williams do what he's done. Talking to Sark, there were four games the kid probably, a lot of kids wouldn't even have played, I guess, because he was so banged up. And for him to just fight through that and play the way that he did, those are really cool stories because you know, had you not been there, some of those kids don't come.

"Not the local kids. Marqise Lee maybe would have come there no matter what. But like Nelson and Leonard, for my dad [former defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin] to go down there, know the people, the connections down there for those kids to trust in us, they were going to come across the country to play at SC. And then see how well it's worked out especially for those two guys – someone said Leonard may be the second pick in the draft or something – that's a really neat story."

For more on Lane Kiffin at the Sugar Bowl, check back later at

Follow Gary Klein on Twitter @latimesklein