Paul Finebaum says Lane Kiffin outcoached Nick Saban so bad, it led Alabama's coach to make false sign stealing accusations
Just when you thought Saturday night’s shootout between Alabama and Ole Miss couldn’t possibly produce more entertainment, the coaches from each team have found a way to heat up the growing rivalry between Nick Saban and Lane Kiffin.
Immediately after the conclusion of Alabama’s 63-48 win over the Rebels, Saban suggested that Ole Miss had so much success in the game due to sign stealing from the Tide’s defense. For what it’s worth, Alabama linebacker Dylan Moses also made that suggestion during his postgame interview.
On Monday, Saban quickly walked those statements back but the damage had already been done.
During a Tuesday morning interview with ESPN’s “First Take,” Paul Finebaum shared his thoughts on Ole Miss nearly upsetting Alabama, which would have led Kiffin to become the first former Crimson Tide assistant to work for Saban to beat the Alabama program.
Kiffin did such a good job coaching, it led Saban to make excuses after the game, according to Finebaum.
“The other night Lane Kiffin probably came closest (to being the first former Saban assistant to beat the Alabama coach), I mean he outcoached Nick Saban, but of course, he lost the game because he has maybe the worst defense I’ve ever seen in the SEC. But he has also one of the most explosive offenses I’ve ever seen.
“Alabama could not keep up with Ole Miss. I mean their defense was gassed, they didn’t know what was coming and it led Saban to, unfortunately, accuse his former pupil of stealing signals, even though Kiffin very intelligently responded, ‘Oh, we call the plays as the previous play has ended. So, that’s a non-starter.’ And yesterday, Saban very cautiously walked that one back.”
If you missed it, here is what Kiffin had to say on Monday in response to Saban accusing Ole Miss of stealing Alabama’s defensive signals.
“First off, I’ve never known the signals. I never even paid attention to that when I was there. I’m sure they wouldn’t even be the same,” Kiffin said during his first press conference of the week. “This is a new coordinator. I love Coach Saban and have a lot of respect for him. But if you understand tempo, the signal wouldn’t help us. We call the play basically before the last play is even over. Before they even mark the ball, we call our play.
‘Then they scramble to get a play called. They’re just trying to get their guys lined up. It wouldn’t do us any good. By the time someone would relay that to us, we’re already snapping the ball. So I don’t know where that came from. People do it. It’s not illegal. People do it all the time, but it’s usually people who play slower. People steal our signals all the time. But it’s hard to translate to the players because we’re going so fast. We didn’t do that.”
One thing is for sure, the lead up to next year’s Alabama-Ole Miss game should be quite the spectacle.