Jeff Schultz

This AJC sports blogger takes things seriously when he has to, but he really would rather not

Julio Jones: Kiffin's departure is 'small thing' for Saban, Alabama


FLOWERY BRANCH -- Before you make too much of Alabama changing offensive coordinators before its biggest game of the season, you might want to consider this analysis from one of the greatest offensive players in the program's history.

"Small thing," Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones says of Lane Kiffin's departure.

He said it as if he was flicking a bug off his shirt.

Alabama will have a new offensive coordinator before the national championship game against Clemson. This came about after Saban announced this week that the decision to let Kiffin move on to his next job as Florida Atlantic's head coach was a "mutual decision" between the two. It's widely believed that tensions between the two coaches, who have diametric personalities, had become too big of an issue and then the Tide struggled offensively in the playoff semifinal win over Washington.

Will this impact Alabama?

"No. Naw. Not at all. That's a small thing," Jones said.

How can he term a change at offensive coordinator and the team's primary play-caller a small thing?

"It don't matter. They're going to run the same plays anyway."

Jones, a native of Foley, Alabama, played for Saban and the Tide for three seasons (2008-10), winning the national championship in 2009.

Jones smiled when asked about the split.

"He's the head honcho," he said of Saban.

"It’s defense, man. Coach Saban is a defensive-minded coach. But they have some explosive guys on the offensive side of the ball too."

He said Kiffin's departure won't affect players because, "At this time of the year, coach Saban will have his guys ready to go. Things happen. It don't matter what happens. OK, so it happened. Let's get past it. That's the way he is there."

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Jeff Schultz is a general sports columnist and blogger who isn't afraid to share his opinion, which may not necessarily jibe with yours.