Saban lauds FAU for hiring of Kiffin

The Associated Press

BOCA RATON, Fla. — Lane Kiffin has a chance to help Alabama get to 15 wins this season. And then he’s going to take the reins of a program that has won 15 games in the last four years.

Florida Atlantic and Kiffin have agreed in principle on a deal that will make him the school’s next head coach. Alabama coach Nick Saban — Kiffin’s soon-to-be-former boss — lauded the Owls’ move, and said Kiffin will remain with the undefeated and top-ranked Crimson Tide as their offensive coordinator through the College Football Playoff.

“FAU has selected someone that’s going to do a great job for them,” Saban said in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, at a news conference to promote the upcoming Peach Bowl.

Saban was the first person to publicly announce the move; FAU and Kiffin remained mostly silent Monday, even after the news broke. A person with direct knowledge of the talks between Kiffin and the Owls told The Associated Press that he agreed to a five-year contract, speaking condition of anonymity because neither side had discussed terms.

A message left for Kiffin  by the Associated Press was not immediately returned.

Kiffin has been the offensive coordinator at Alabama for the last three seasons, helping the Crimson Tide win last season’s national championship and get back to the CFP field with a 13-0 record so far this year. FAU will be his third collegiate head coaching job, and the first since USC fired him five games into the 2013 season.

Kiffin interviewed with Houston twice, the school’s board of regents chairman told KILT-AM radio in Houston.

FAU, which hasn’t been to a bowl game since 2008, fired Charlie Partridge after three straight 3-9 seasons.

Elrod dead at 62

CHANDLER, Okla. — James “Jimbo” Elrod, an All-American defensive end who played on Oklahoma’s 1974 and 1975 national championship teams, died in a car wreck Monday, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol said. He was 62.

Elrod was also a member of Oklahoma’s 1974 national champion wrestling team. He played three years in the NFL with the Kansas City Chiefs and one with the Houston Oilers.

ND QB going pro

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer declared for the NFL draft Monday, giving up his senior season and opening up the Fighting Irish’s starting job next year for Brandon Wimbush.

Kizer put together a solid junior season for a disappointing Fighting Irish team that went 4-8 in 2016. He threw for 2,925 yards and 26 touchdowns, and rushed for 472 yards and eight touchdowns. He ranks among the most prolific players in Notre Dame history despite playing extensively in only 24 games over the past two seasons.

The 6-foot-4, 230-pound Kizer could end up being the first quarterback selected in the draft in April.

Earlier this month, Malik Zaire, who served as backup to Kizer this season after competing for the starting job in the offseason, announced he was transferring from Notre Dame as a graduate student.