Alabama OC Kiffin leaving before national title game

Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin tracks his players during football practice, Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2016, at the Hank Crisp Indoor Facility in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (Vasha Hunt /AL.com via AP)

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Lane Kiffin isn’t sticking around to run Alabama’s offense in the national championship game.

Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said Monday that Kiffin will leave to focus on his new job as Florida Atlantic’s head coach. Incoming offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian will replace him for the Jan. 9 game against Clemson in Tampa, Florida.

Saban says he and Kiffin spoke following the semifinal game against Washington. He said with the time demands of handling both jobs, “we recognized that it is best for our players, and for Lane, that we allow him to turn his full attention to his new head coaching role at FAU.”

Kiffin says it “was a very difficult decision, but it’s a decision made in the best interests of the program.”