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Former Trojans receiver Keary Colbert helping Alabama

Former Trojans receiver Keary Colbert helping Alabama
USC receiver Keary Colbert grabs a 25-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Matt Leinart during the first quarter of the Rose Bowl game on Jan. 1, 2004. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin is not the only former USC personality with a stake in the College Football Playoff championship game against Clemson.

Former Trojans receiver Keary Colbert works as an offensive analyst for Alabama.

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"I took this opportunity to kind of grow in the profession of coaching and learn from the best with Coach Saban, and coach Kiffin and all the coaches that are here," Colbert said. "It's kind of been a process."

Colbert, 33, played at USC from 2000-03 and is fourth on the Trojans' all-time receptions list with 207 catches, 19 for touchdowns. He played six seasons in the NFL and was a receivers coach at Georgia State in 2013 before joining the Alabama staff before the 2014 season.

Analysts' range of responsibilities can include breaking down film and other quality-control tasks.

"Some of those things you have to do to kind of earn your stripes in the profession," Colbert said. "You put your time in."

Saban said coaches "love" the opportunity to have analysts as part of their operations.

"One of the most difficult things about our profession is how do you get experience so that you can grow and develop as a coach?" Saban said. "I think as an entry level that is beneficial to some guys that can move on maybe to be graduate assistants, get on the field and get some coaching experience.

"Regardless of where they need to start professionally, I think this is a great thing for our profession, to be able to help develop coaches, and I think those guys now have created a role and a niche for themselves that's very important to every program because we all depend on them."

Colbert is eager to eventually return to a coaching role.

He also is certain that Kiffin will eventually thrive as a head coach in his next opportunity.

"He'll definitely learn from his experiences as a head coach and from being here under Coach Saban," Colbert said. "I think he's going to benefit and I think somebody's going to get a really good head coach in the future."

Follow Gary Klein on Twitter @LATimesKlein

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