Lane Kiffin is holding firm to his “Alabama roots.”
Former Alabama Heisman Trophy running back Mark Ingram worked out at Florida Atlantic on Tuesday with Kiffin and other members of the FAU coaching staff as Ingram prepares to return to the New Orleans Saints in a couple of weeks following his four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
During Ingram’s suspension, he’s not allowed to visit the Saints’ practice facilities.
“He wasn’t allowed to practice with our team because of the new NCAA rules against that, but when we were done, we padded him up and put him through a workout, me and [FAU running backs coach] Kevin Smith,” Kiffin told ESPN. “He got after it and wants to make sure he’s ready to go and in football shape when he gets back with the Saints.
“It’s the least I could do. We’re both part of the Alabama family.”
Ingram became the first Alabama player to win the Heisman Trophy in 2009 when he rushed for 1,658 yards and scored 20 touchdowns. This will be his eighth season with the Saints when he returns. He has rushed for 1,000 yards in each of his past two seasons.
Kiffin is in his second season as FAU’s head coach after leading the Owls to 11 wins a year ago. He served as Alabama’s offensive coordinator from 2015 to 2017 and was part of three SEC championship teams and one national championship team in Tuscaloosa.
“That’s how you treat Bama family,” said Kiffin, whose Owls travel to No. 16 UCF on Friday.
In Kiffin’s final year at Alabama, he was named Florida Atlantic’s head coach in early December but still planned to coach the Tide through the end of the season. However, one week before the Tide were to play Clemson for the national title, the school announced that it was cutting ties with Kiffin and Steve Sarkisian would replace him for the championship game.