Asked about Auburn job, Kiffin evokes Saban

NCAAF

Lane Kiffin has long credited Nick Saban for helping to re-energize Kiffin’s head coaching career, but that doesn’t mean Kiffin is opposed to poking fun at his old boss.

In fact, Kiffin jokingly went into full Saban mode on Monday at his news conference when asked if he was a candidate for the Auburn head coaching job and whether or not he had talked to anybody at Auburn.

Kiffin said coaching rumors are a “product of your players playing well” and that there had been no conversations with Auburn and then quipped, “I wanted to say what I learned from my mentor, that if you guys are going to keep asking this, I’m going to have to tell you, ‘I’m not going to be the head coach at Alabama, OK? So stop asking me.'”

Kiffin even sported his best Saban hand gesture in answering the question, then grinned and said, “I wasn’t supposed to say that, but I just had to.”

Kiffin, who worked under Saban as Alabama’s offensive coordinator from 2014-16, was referring to Saban’s quote in 2006 when he was the Miami Dolphins’ head coach. After reports circulated for a month linking Saban to the Alabama head coaching vacancy, Saban said on Dec. 21, “I guess I have to say it. I’m not going to be the Alabama coach.”

Two weeks later, Saban changed his mind and was named the Alabama coach on Jan. 3, 2007.

It’s hardly the first time that Kiffin has needled Saban, be it Kiffin tweeting about “rat poison” or the “ass-chewings” he used to receive from Saban on the Alabama sideline or even Kiffin once joking that three years of working under Saban were like “dog years.”

More recently, Kiffin told ESPN that he appreciated Saban “way more now that I’m gone than I did when I was there” and added, “I wouldn’t be where I am now had it not been for him.”

Kiffin, in his first season as Ole Miss’ coach, has led the Rebels to a 4-4 record, and they can finish with a winning record in the regular season Saturday with a win at LSU.

Ole Miss ranks third in the SEC in scoring offense (39.8 points per game) behind Alabama (49.5 points per game) and Florida (41.2 points per game). Earlier this season, Alabama beat Ole Miss 63-48 in a game that saw Kiffin’s Rebels gain 647 yards, the most Alabama has ever allowed in a game.

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