Lane Kiffin Believes Nick Saban Secretly Changed Who Calls The Alabama Defense After Texas Loss

Videos by OutKick

Nick Saban hired Kevin Steele to be his defensive coordinator, but Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin believes that he is no longer calling the defense in Tuscaloosa.

Speaking with the media to preview their matchup against Alabama this week, Kiffin said that his team is not preparing for a game called by Kevin Steele. No, the Ole Miss head coach is preparing for a defense called by cornerbacks coach Travaris Robinson.

Now, this might be Kiffin doing his best to rile up the Alabama fan base, or he has noticed something during his preparations for the Crimson Tide.

“We’ve been against Kevin a number of times. Worked with him at Alabama and against him at Auburn and LSU. There seems like there’s been a change there,” Lane Kiffin noted, according to On3 Sports on Sunday. “I don’t know what happened after the Texas game, but our guys watching the TV copy and schematically in this last game, certainly seems like T-Rob’s now calling the defense.”

That’s a bold claim to make about the opposing team, five days before they take the field against each other in Tuscaloosa. But, Lane Kiffin is known to throw a wrench into the pregame thinking before a matchup, this time asserting Nick Saban has secretly made a change.

In this case, Kiffin could be doing his best to play mind-games before Kiffin tries to catch Alabama off-guard with his offensive play calling. Whether or not Lane actually believes that Saban has made an internal switch, it’s wild to hear a coach say this.

“We played Travaris [Robinson] before at South Carolina, so we’re preparing accordingly for him calling the defense,” Kiffin said. “He’s done a good job, too, and they’ve got really good players.”

Kevin Steele’s Third Stint Under Nick Saban. Calling Plays?

After former Alabama defensive coordinator Pete Golding made the move to Ole Miss, where he cited family reasons as part of the reason why, Saban made the call to a familiar face, Kevin Steele. The former Miami defensive coordinator was hired by Alabama after Golding made the move to Oxford.

If you remember, Kevin Steele was also the interim head coach at Tennessee for about three weeks after Jeremy Pruitt was fired. Pruitt had brought Steele in, then when he was fired, but Phillip Fulmer kept him on as a babysitter. Steele made almost $1 million for his quick stint in Knoxville, before Fulmer ‘resigned’ and a new regime was hired.

Alabama defensive coordinator Kevin Steele
Defensive coordinator Kevin Steele looks on prior to the game against the Texas A&M Aggies at Kyle Field on September 17, 2022 in College Station, Texas. (Photo by Jack Gorman/Getty Images)

Now at Alabama, the defense is trying to adjust and Nick Saban admittedly is continuing to work with Steele on the transition in Tuscaloosa. Following the loss to Texas, Nick Saban discussed Steele’s role within the program on his show, mentioning that everyone was a valuable asset.

“He’s been with us before, so he knows a lot of what we try to do,” Saban mentioned on the ‘Nick Saban Show’ following the Texas loss. “And, you know, we’re all making a transition to try to help him, you know, do what he needs to do to be a great part of the program here. Which he’s been a tremendous asset for many years.”

So is Kevin Steele actually at Alabama to fill a title, or is he actually running Saban’s defense? It’s a mixture of both, as the defensive coordinator runs what Saban wants.

In the eye of Lane Kiffin, it’s Travaris Robinson who is now calling the defense in Tuscaloosa. This is shaping up to be an entertaining week.

Written by Trey Wallace

Trey Wallace is the host of The Trey Wallace Podcast that focuses on a mixture of sports, culture, entertainment along with his perspective on everything from College Football to the College World Series.

Wallace has been covering college sports for 15 years, starting off while attending the University of South Alabama. He’s broken some of the biggest college stories including the Florida football “Credit Card Scandal” along with the firing of Jim McElwin and Kevin Sumlin. Wallace also broke one of the biggest stories in college football in 2020 around the NCAA investigation into recruiting violations against Tennessee football head coach Jeremy Pruitt.

Wallace also appears on radio across seven different states breaking down that latest news in college sports.

Leave a Reply