Alabama Football: Will Lane Kiffin and Ole Miss steal signals again?

Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports /

Alabama Football had a big problem in Oxford, MS last season. Lane Kiffin’s Ole Miss offense was almost too much for the Alabama Crimson Tide defense. Had Nick Saban and Steve Sarkisian not built the most explosive Crimson Tide offense – ever, in 2020; the Rebels might have won.

On that night in Oxford, the frequently ineffective Crimson Tide defense stunned Alabama football fans. Responses were so intense against Alabama Football, Defensive Coordinator, Pete Golding; the program might have considered assigning a security detail to guard him after his return to Tuscaloosa.

Alabama football fans want payback

Crimson Tide fans want payback this season. Tide players on the defensive side must want the same. For the Alabama Football staff, it is another game. A big game no doubt, but like all Crimson Tide games, the main staff priority is for the team to play to its own standard.

Playing to the Alabama Crimson Tide standard should be enough to win every game. Enough that is, if the game is played (metaphorically) on a level playing field. There is residual doubt last season’s game provided such a ‘level playing field.’

After last season’s game, Nick Saban said,

"It seemed like everything we did, they had an answer for. I don’t know if they had our signals or what but, I’m not … that’s not anything unusual but it seemed like every time we called something, they had the best play that they could have against it. And they had a really good plan and Lane is a really good coach."

Crimson Tide linebacker, Dylan Moses made similar comments.

"Coach Kiffin was our coach for like three years and knows the ins and outs of our defense. So there are a lot of things we need to change up, the signals and all that because I’m pretty sure they were watching it."

Lane Kiffin responded with a tweet.

Kiffin’s explanation is credible and Nick Saban did later clarify his comments to indicate he was not accusing Lane and Ole Miss of stealing signals.

Still, there is reason to wonder. Thinking back to the game, the warp-speed Ole Miss offense did slow at times, taking time to read the Crimson Tide defense and change play calls. No tape review has been done to verify the results of those plays. But, strong memories from the game lead to a conclusion that when Ole Miss changed plays, it often found mismatches and exploited them.

Is Lane Kiffin just a masterful play-caller? Did Ole Miss steal cues from a Nick Saban defense Kiffin knows well? The answer to the first question is an unequivocal yes. With no clear proof, the second question cannot be answered with a fact, It can be answered with a claim – and the claim is yes.

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In fairness to Kiffin, ‘stealing’ is a strong word to apply, to what is not uncommon in teams trying to decipher another team’s signals.