BOCA RATON – Prior to his first spring game at FAU, Lane Kiffin received another reminder that he’s no longer coaching at a football powerhouse.
When the Owls went out to stretch prior to the game Kiffin looked at the nearly-empty stands, saw about 50 fans, and wondered whether anyone would show up.
After the game he joked that his quarterbacks frequently threw deep during the game – albeit unsuccessfully – as a means to keep the fans that did show up interested.
“Throw a lot of deep balls because if we lose these 50 we’re really going to have nobody in the stands,” Kiffin said.
That’s not what we was accustomed to for the last three years as the offensive coordinator at national powerhouse Alabama.
“In Alabama on spring game, at 7 o’clock in the morning the streets are shut down because everybody’s already tailgating for their spring game at 7 a.m,” Kiffin said. “I guess I got used to that.”
Kiffin said that those in the locker room who know the South Florida market advised him that the crowds are always late arriving.
“Just like being in LA, the crowd’s gonna come right at the beginning because there’s other stuff to do,” Kiffin said.
Before coaching at Alabama, Kiffin was the head coach at Southern Cal.
Florida Atlantic hired Kiffin in December to be the fifth coach in program history, signing him to a five-year contract at close to $1 million per year.
FAU did not announce an attendance for its spring game but there appeared to be a few thousand at Howard Schnellenberger Field – a little more than attended last year’s game.