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Ole Miss’ Lane Kiffin Fires Back At Pardon The Interruption’s Michael Wilbon For Calling Him ‘A Clown’ And ‘An Embarrassment’

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Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin has enough to worry about this week as he prepares to play No. 1 Alabama and seven-time national champion coach Nick Saban Saturday in Tuscaloosa, Alabama (2:30 p.m. central, CBS).

But in the meantime, he has taken some shots from “Pardon The Interruption” co-host and ESPN analyst Michael Wilbon, who called him “a clown” during the show on Tuesday.

Wilbon was asked by co-host Tony Kornheiser which scenario would be better for the rest of the college football season — an Ole Miss or Alabama win Saturday.

“The answer’s Alabama because of Lane Kiffin,” Wilbon fired. “Lane Kiffin’s a clown. Lane Kiffin has been an embarrassment at multiple stops. I mean nobody’s going to run out there and say, ‘Yeah, I want Lane Kiffin right here on the logo representing me.’ The answer’s Alabama, Tony.”

Kiffin, 46, was fired as head coach of the Oakland Raiders during the 2008 season and by USC as head coach during the 2013 season. He then became Alabama’s offensive coordinator in 2014. He was supposed to stay at Alabama as offensive coordinator through the 2016 national championship game after he accepted the Florida Atlantic head coaching job, but coach Nick Saban relieved him of his duties before that because of a lack of focus.

Kiffin became the Ole Miss coach before the 2020 season and took the Rebels to a 5-5 record with a win over Indiana in the Outback Bowl. It was Ole Miss’ first bowl since 2015. The Rebels (3-0) are No. 12 in the nation this season and No. 1 in total offense with 635 yards a game – 76 more yards a game than No. 2 Ohio State – with a Heisman Trophy favorite quarterback in Matt Corral.

Kiffin tweeted on Tuesday that he will pray for Wilbon. On Wednesday, he was asked about Wilbon’s comments on the weekly Southeastern Conference teleconference.

“I think everybody has a right to whatever. You can’t control what people do,” Kiffin said. “I worry more when the person’s actually met you and knows you versus someone that’s never met you and doesn’t know you at all. To say those things is pretty over the top compared to what most professional media say, but he got attention, so maybe that’s the name of the game.”

Asked whether it was a “low blow,” Kiffin said, “Professional media usually don’t go that far, especially when you’ve never met them and they don’t know you at all. But it is what it is. I mean it’s not like the guy had earth shattering news that Alabama is going to beat us. He should go to Vegas with that earth shattering prediction.”

FanDuel has Ole Miss as a 14.5 underdog against Alabama.

Written by Glenn Guilbeau

Guilbeau has been on the LSU beat since 1998 with multiple outlets in Louisiana, prior to that he had covered both Auburn and Alabama. He won first place for his game feature on LSU's upset at Florida last season from the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA). He was also named Beat Writer of Year, by Louisiana Sports Writers Association in July; placed in three Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) categories – Beat Writer, Explanatory, Game Coverage – last spring. Guilbeau was also the FWAA first-place winner for columns in 2017 and was also the top overall winner in 2016 FWAA placing first for his game story, second in columns, and receiving honorable mention for features.

4 Comments

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  1. I am no Kiffin fan to say the least, but why is he a clown and/or embarrassment? It isn’t like he is the first guy to have been fired from multiple jobs and came back to coach somewhere else. Wilbon is the only one who looks like a clown in this situation.

  2. Calling him a “clown” might be a bit unprofessional, but Wilbon certainly has a point with the facts. Kiffin hasn’t left many previous jobs on a high note or in better shape than when he arrived, to say the least. He’s always been a guy looking past you to the bigger better deal, which doesn’t show much sincere care that endears you to anyone. He’s left 4 BIG jobs on bad terms now at 46 years old. Yikes. There’s your warning from a UT fan Ole Miss. Enjoy your fling while it lasts. Based on actual results he’s one of these guys that does a lot of talking but doesn’t actually deliver much. He was a semi-successful coordinator at Bama, but I think we all know Bama success starts and ends with Saban every time. It’s not like that offense has had any trouble since he left. He’s gotten handled with kid gloves by SEC media since taking the reigns at Ole Miss, so this was just a splash of cold water reality from Wilbon (who gives not a crap about the SEC). At the end of the day Kiffin’s still that “guy with potential” that we’ve yet to see DO much as a HC. And spare people the passive aggressive “I’ll pray for you” garbage. God’s not your PR prop.

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