Paul Finebaum: Nick Saban probably hates the Lane Kiffin hire at Ole Miss
Lane Kiffin is the new head coach at Ole Miss, and it has been perceived as one of the best hires of this coaching carousel.
The Rebels upgraded from former head coach Matt Luke to Kiffin, and college football is still buzzing about it. Kiffin showed up in Oxford Sunday night to a cheering crowd, as he held a baby and was told to get a burner phone by a fan.
Nick Saban had some trouble against former Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze, and Paul Finebaum is predicting that he’ll have trouble against his former offensive coordinator in Kiffin.
Monday morning on WJOX-FM, Finebaum speculated that a big reason why Kiffin took the Ole Miss job is so he could face Saban again. The SEC Network analyst also said the Kiffin hire was a big one for the SEC, not just Ole Miss, because of the entertainment factor and his overall coaching ability.
Finebaum went on to explain why Saban probably hates the Kiffin hire at Ole Miss, via WJOX-FM.
“I think he hates it, because he knows Lane Kiffin, and Lane Kiffin is one of the few coaches he could not control,” Finebaum said. “There are a lot of reasons why Nick just finally said, ‘You know what? I’m letting Lane go.’ Lane said it, and I’m agreeing with him. Getting rid of Lane Kiffin cost Nick Saban a national championship, but it just shows you how sick of Lane Kiffin Nick Saban was that he was willing to risk that a couple years ago. I’m convinced they would have own the championship that year had Kiffin been calling the plays because he had that kind of relationship with Jalen Hurts.
“He’s just one of those guys — and those guys are out there — that are a nemesis, and Lane knows Nick Saban better than any coach maybe other than (Bill) Belichick that I’ve ever encountered. … It’ll be interesting to see who he ends up with on his staff. You know he’s targeting people that are either at Alabama or have been close to Alabama over the years.”
Kiffin’s coaching resume has been well documented from landing the Raiders head coaching job to Tennessee, USC, Alabama and FAU. He’s one of the most popular and most polarizing coaching candidates in the country.
He rehabbed his image at FAU, finishing with an overall record of 26-13, including two 10-win seasons in 2017 and 2019.
Ole Miss will play Alabama October 3 at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in 2020.