With another first-year quarterback in true freshman Jalen Hurts, he has orchestrated a Tide offense that has averaged 40 points a game and nearly 400 yards per contest.
On Wednesday, Kiffin, as well as several of the Crimson Tide offensive standouts, addressed the media in Atlanta, and the following is a few samples of some the best quotes from the day:
ALABAMA OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR LANE KIFFIN:
"It's been an exciting week. I think, as Coach Saban has talked about, it helps us a lot that we've been here before. All of our players, obviously, but the freshmen. So familiar with surroundings too, having been here for the three SEC Championships, as well. So I think that helps our guys. Our guys have worked really hard. We've still got a lot of preparation to go, but it's been a good week and we look forward to playing a really, really good team."
"Well, I think that (Petersen's team does not) give out many big plays. I think that it's very hard to score against them. You see the most points they've given up all year is 27, 28 points in a game. So they play really well. They're coached extremely well and they don't make many mistakes. They're not a -- they don't take a lot of chances, kind of a bend don't break. I think there's a lot of comparison there. I know they spend a lot of time with Pete Carroll and that staff at Seattle. You can see a lot of comparisons in the style of defense they play. They don't do a million things. What they do, they do really, really well."
"I think the first part of (his dual role as UA offensive coordinator and FAU head coach), there are time issues of managing both jobs. Luckily, we are in a dead period, and when I was hired there, it was at the end of the live period. So I think it would have been more difficult had we taken the job maybe a week before, you know, to try to balance both because you're on the road recruiting. Where, now, obviously, in the dead period, we can't be. It was important to get a few guys, especially to hire a defensive coordinator as soon as I could to get someone in place there. Chris Kiffin has been there, been able to evaluate all of our players, recruits, start recruiting over the phone and then help interview defensive coaches. So that helped me a lot time-wise. And then we've been kind of working on offensive coaches in our spare time over the last week."
"(Saban) has been great to me. He's never said anything but excited about coming back next year prior to this job. And we did have a great three years. Three straight SEC Championships and potential of two national championships and a Heisman trophy winner. So it was really great. And it really was about the job. It was about that specific job. When I went in there and I met with the president, the athletic director and the three main decision makers, I went into the interview saying, okay, you know, you always want to go through the interview process with different places because you learn and you never know. Those people may be somewhere else five years from now, so you may impress them in the interview, even if it's a job you're not going to take. I came into that room not really knowing and I came out of that room saying, okay, I really want that job. They're committed to doing things different than they've done before and they really want to win championships and do everything that it takes to do that."
ALABAMA SOPHOMORE TAILBACK DAMIEN HARRIS:
"I mean, just getting to share a special event like this with my teammates. We worked really hard to get to this point, and we know we're facing a great Washington team. But just being able to come together and playing a game like this, work together, practice, all the stuff, I think that's something that we'll all cherish for a really long time, getting to do something special like this."
"I mean, learning from a guy like (former Tide tailback) Derrick (Henry), I don't know if I can put into words how much that helped me, watching him work day in and day out. I mean, he won the Best Player in College Football last year. Getting to see somebody like that, seeing the worth ethic he brought to practice every day and seeing how it translated into the game. Coaches use him as a prime example of how your work in practice helps you improve as a player in the game. So just watching him grow, become the player that he was last year, things like that really helped me this year, I think. Helped me develop a little bit better work ethic and just seeing how practice kind of translated everything into the game and how that would help you in the game."
"One thing that we noticed about Washington on tape is, like Coach Kiffin said, they just don't make a lot of mistakes. They don't do a lot of different things, but they're very fundamentally sound. They execute. They're where they're supposed to be when they're supposed to be there. I think that's the biggest thing about their defense. We don't want to compare them to anybody, but they play their assignments very well and they do what they're coached to do."
ALABAMA SENIOR TIGHT END O.J. HOWARD:
"I think the whole experience has been great. One that stood out the most, last night we got a chance to visit Ebenezer Baptist Church where Martin Luther King, Jr. grew up and was a pastor there. Reliving that whole civil rights movement and thankful for all they did for us was one of my best experiences so far."
"For me, everything on offense doesn't always click. That's football. You have bad plays. And sometimes we have three and outs. I'm kind of frustrated, other guys are frustrated. But honestly, man, we look over at Jalen. He's the quarterback. He's calm. He's chill. I think if the quarterback's good, we all should be good. So I think that's really the biggest lesson I've learned from Jalen, honestly, just chill. Just relax. We know what we got to do and I see it on his face all the time, so I really like that from him."
ALABAMA FRESHMAN QUARTERBACK JALEN HURTS:
"I'd say the highlight (of the time in Atlanta thus far) has been just to experience all these good things they have for us. They've done a great job of showing us out and allowing us to have a good experience. But like I said over there, one of my great memories was going to get Popeyes the other night. I was kind of hungry, and it was really good."
"(Steve Sarkisian, who will replace Kiffin as the Tide's offensive coordinator) is a talented guy. He has a great track record, and I think he'll do a great job here. I have a lot of respect for him because I know what he's done, the quarterbacks he's had. So I think he'll be fine."
"People talk about how poised and how relaxed I am on the field, but I think all that comes from (his father, who was also his high school football coach). Because I told him the other day when I went home, I said, I am my father's child. And that is true. He's groomed me into the person I am. He's humble. He's a competitor. And I think I resemble him in all ways, really."
"When I touch the field, I have to get comfortable and get a feel for the game. But as far as environments I've played in, I think the loudest was Arkansas because that first play was just rah, rah, wow. It was the first time I've ever experienced that. But I think after the Ole Miss game, which was pretty loud, I settled down and I'm like, well, I don't think it can get any worse than this. And I felt it less how I uphold it throughout the season."
"(The Washington defensive players are) ball hawks. They play fast. They're smart and they do what they do well. So we just have to come out and execute our game plan, play our game, and see what happens."
"Well, I think (the process of winning over his teammates) was done before the season with the workouts and I guess they just saw a dog mentality in me. One of my teammates said, I mean -- and I said it over there, you know, a guy can have it. ArDarius Stewart, he has it. You don't know what it is, but he has it. He's a ballplayer. And I just think that's how they felt about me."