Alabama defeated Ole Miss 63-48 on Saturday. Although the Crimson Tide was never in any real danger of losing the outing, Lane Kiffin and Co. made them work a lot harder on defense than they expected to.
Following the game, Alabama head coach Nick Saban came out and suggested that perhaps Kiffin and his team were stealing signs.
“It seemed like everything we did they had an answer for,” Saban said after the fact.
“I don’t know if they had our signals, but that’s not unusual. But it seemed like every time we called something they had the best thing they could have against it.”
Saban didn’t stop there, though.
“They ran the ball in some unusual circumstances,” he observed.
Saban’s comments were surprising, but understandable given the fact that his defense somehow gave up 647 yards of offense to a former coordinator.
Gotta love Rajon Rondo. https://t.co/8Y42wsYeS1
— Game 7 (@game7__) October 12, 2020
Kiffin fired back on Sunday, taking to Twitter to plead his case.
“FYI when u go as fast as we do we call our play first,” he wrote.
“Stealing signals wouldn’t help us at all because we are snapping the ball why they were still trying to just line up.”
FYI when u go as fast as we do we call our play first. Stealing signals wouldn’t help us at all because we are snapping the ball why they were still trying to just line up. #facts #ComeToTheSip @AlabamaFTBL go win the natty @OleMissFB https://t.co/6EvFe8PX4R
— Lane Kiffin (@Lane_Kiffin) October 11, 2020
On Monday, Saban walked his comments back.
“I think what I was really speaking to was we were more like, I felt like we were always one play behind,” he said.
“When I say one play behind, I mean, sometimes when you play in the NFL against Joe Montana or somebody really good, you always feel like you’re one play behind because if you call this, they do the right thing against that. I think that was more what I was referring to, as if they knew what we were going to do.
“Some of that is our issue in terms of how we disguise things. They were going fast. We were struggling to get lined up. We didn’t do a very good job of disguising things. So, they were able to take advantage of a lot of situations, and they know us well, so all those things probably contributed to me feeling a little bit like we were one play behind.”
Folks will be left to read between the lines of Saban’s follow-up statement, but it appears as though he still feels like his initial comments were justified. The Alabama coach simply doesn’t want to turn this into a bigger issue than it already is.
To his point, he wasn’t alone in thinking something was awry with how the Ole Miss offense was responding to Alabama’s defense.
What a year. https://t.co/aXauCkoKLW
— Game 7 (@game7__) October 10, 2020
Linebacker Dylan Thomas alluded to something similar.
“They had an answer for everything, what we were lined up in,” he said after the game.
With the victory, Saban’s group moved to 5-0 on the year. Ole Miss, meanwhile, fell to 2-3.