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The Lane Kiffin Cooking Show has been canceled as the Ole Miss coach plans to exit the kitchen for his coaching office in preparation for a home game against Arkansas Saturday (11 a.m., ESPN).
Kiffin said Monday he apologized to CBS sideline reporter Jamie Erdahl for being rude just before the Alabama game Saturday when he said, “Here we go. Get your popcorn ready,” and tossed his headset before the interview was over.
“I literally didn’t know there was another question, and when I found out afterwards that looked rude, which it did, I contacted Jamie to make sure she knew that was not on purpose and to apologize for that.”
Kiffin realized his goof immediately just before kickoff of his team’s 42-21 loss at Alabama, which led 28-0 at halftime and 35-0 before the Rebels finally started cooking and scored.
“Sometimes you get caught up in emotions,” said Kiffin, whose team scored often at will in a 63-48 loss to Alabama last year. “And I had just heard something in the locker room and someone saying that. I don’t even know why it came out. And I actually said to Lebby (Ole Miss offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby), ‘I just said something really stupid. You better score a lot of points.'”
As the first half ended with no points for the Rebels, Kiffin said he told Lebby, “Looks like we didn’t plug the microwave in, buddy.”
Kiffin did not apologize for going for it on fourth down five times in the first half and failing the last three times from the Alabama 6, the Ole Miss 47 and the biggest dare of all – from the Ole Miss 31. Alabama folllowed all three stops with touchdowns for a 21-0 lead.
Ole Miss came into the game No. 1 in the nation in fourth down conversions with 12 out of 14 tries.
“The question got asked to me, ‘Well, were you just doing that because it was Alabama?’ No, that was all analytics and following it,” Kiffin said. “And I think in those games, because I’ve been in those discussions, where you’re in rooms and someone says, ‘All right, what are we going to do? We’re the heavy underdog. Let’s just keep it close, so it doesn’t look as bad. And punt the ball away.’”
That was not Kiffin’s plan as a 15-point underdog.
“Well, we don’t play that way,” he said. “And I don’t think when you’re the heavy underdog, you win that way, especially with a good quarterback. So, we followed the analytics, and they didn’t work. The year before they did, and when we had the press conference, everybody thought it was brilliant. That’s what it is.”
Kiffin compared his fourth down pursuits to playing the Blackjack card game, or 21.
“When there’s five dollars out there, everybody hits when they’re supposed to on 16,” he said. “Then they got all this money out there, and they’re supposed to hit. They know it. But they don’t, because they get scared. So, that’s kind of the comparison.”
No. 17 Ole Miss (3-1, 0-1 SEC) is a 5.5 favorite over No. 16 Arkansas (4-1, 1-2) by Fan Duel. Much like the Rebels at Alabama, the Razorbacks were humbled by a superior team in a 37-0 loss at No. 2 Georgia.
“I think what it appears is you’ve got two super, elite teams this year with great players on both sides, but especially defense,” Kiffin said of Alabama and Georgia. “And then there’s kind of a drop off. Georgia’s got great players and exposes people. Prior to that, Arkansas was playing extremely well. They run the ball really well. They don’t give up explosive plays. This is a defensive scheme we struggled with a year ago, and we basically switched to it pretty much because it’s really good. They do a great job, and they play super hard.”