FAU's Lane Kiffin takes playful dig at Nick Saban with 'rat poison' comment

Wednesday, 11 October 2017, 11:32:41 AM. FAU coach Lane Kiffin follows Alabama's Nick Saban with rat poison comment regarding positive media coverage

Florida Atlantic coach Lane Kiffin couldn’t help but take advantage of the opportunity.

When ESPN suggested the Owls had the best chance to win the Conference USA championship, it was only fitting Kiffin troll his former boss. He mocked Alabama coach Nick Saban on Twitter Monday night by posting, “Please stop media!! This is rat poison to our players!!”

It was in reference to Saban scolding reporters last Saturday after the Crimson Tide’s 27-19 victory against Texas A&M by saying their positive coverage was toxic.

“I think it’s OK to have a sense of humor in this profession,” said Kiffin, who was Saban’s offensive coordinator from 2014-16. “People think that you’re not supposed to, so whatever. I thought it was funny.”

In a way, it was Kiffin following Saban’s lead. He wants his players not to get caught up in the media hype of their 3-3 (2-0 in Conference USA) start. The Owls are in the middle of the bye week, meaning the task is a bit more difficult because the inactive period.

On Tuesday, Kiffin got a glimpse of how the players could get too caught up in their press clippings. He normally speaks to the media before the players, but this time talked after running back Gregory Howell Jr.and offensive linemen Antoyno Woods and Roman Fernandez.

It gave Kiffin the chance to listen to some of the potential head-swelling questions as he waited in the back of the interview room.

“I’m trying to not do that, and you guys do that,” Kiffin joked with reporters.

A less-stressful bye week combined with the success has allowed outsiders to see how much the mood has relaxed since the 0-2 start. He has been the opposite of Saban. The Owls are still working toward improving, but they are taking at least some time to enjoy the accomplishments.

“We’re not too much into the hype,” Howell said. “I don’t think many of us take it how most people from the outside take it. We just see it as we’ve been the same group playing together. We don’t really feed into that. It is what it is … It’s good to know you’re on an upward path.”

Although Kiffin has brought an Alabama mind-set to practices, the atmosphere isn’t as intense all the time. Players are enjoying workouts more and find it easier to bond with coaches.

Receiver John Franklin III has noticed the difference. Franklin transferred to FAU after stops at Florida State and Auburn, where the pressure is much higher.

fau-and-apos;s-lane-kiffin-takes-playful-dig-at-nick-saban-with--and-apos;rat-poison-and-apos;-comment photo 1 Shandel Richardson

Florida Atlantic coach Lane Kiffin made a strange decision when he put receiver John Franklin III in at quarterback late in Saturday’s blowout victory at Old Dominion.

Franklin entered ahead of sophomore Daniel Parr, who started the first three games before being replaced by Jason Driskel. Kiffin...

Florida Atlantic coach Lane Kiffin made a strange decision when he put receiver John Franklin III in at quarterback late in Saturday’s blowout victory at Old Dominion.

Franklin entered ahead of sophomore Daniel Parr, who started the first three games before being replaced by Jason Driskel. Kiffin...

(Shandel Richardson)

“It’s more relaxed, laid back to me, personally, from where I have been,” Franklin said. “It’s more enjoyable. It’s enjoyable to actually to go out there and want to be at practice. It’s something different for me.”

Kiffin, who is only 42, has also surrounded himself with a younger graduate assistants to help better relate with the players. With the position coaches on the road recruiting this week and the coordinators only around, the young staff members have had opportunity to lead.

It has only made it easier for players to adjust and buy into the system.

“I’m not a big practice player, but I enjoy coming to practice, enjoy getting better,” Franklin said. “I love grinding. I think it’s because of the environment that allows us to want to go out and practice and do that.”

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FAU coach Lane Kiffin trolls Nick Saban with `rat poison' comment

FAU coach Lane Kiffin trolls Nick Saban with `rat poison' comment

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FAU coach Lane Kiffin trolls Nick Saban with `rat poison' comment

FAU coach Lane Kiffin trolls Nick Saban with `rat poison' comment

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FAU Lane Kiffin on keeping momentum during bye week

FAU Lane Kiffin on keeping momentum during bye week

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FAU running back Gregory Howell Jr., on coach Lane Kiffin's open criticisms

FAU running back Gregory Howell Jr., on coach Lane Kiffin's open criticisms

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FAU quarterback Jason Driskel prepares for third straight start

FAU quarterback Jason Driskel prepares for third straight start

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FAU coach Lane Kiffin on Tuesday's practice

FAU coach Lane Kiffin on Tuesday's practice

srichardson@sun-sentinel.com; On Twitter @shandelrich

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Article FAU's Lane Kiffin takes playful dig at Nick Saban with 'rat poison' comment compiled by www.baltimoresun.com