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Alabama defensive coordinator Pete Golding is leaving Nick Saban’s staff for the same position at Ole Miss. Rumors were swirling throughout the week about the move, but it was confirmed by ESPN’s Chris Low on Friday afternoon.
Not long after the news broke, Lane Kiffin took to Twitter with cryptic food for thought. He responded to a tweet from 10 hours prior with an emoji, as if to say “really makes you think.”
Kiffin tweets a lot. He is very active on Twitter.
His monocle emoji may have had nothing to do with the Golding hire. It may have had everything to with the Golding hire.
The first half of the quote had to do with the grass being greener “on the other side,” which may have had to do with Alabama and their recent history of dominance. The latter half spoke to the idea of “watering our own grass,” which may have had to do with what Kiffin is building in Oxford— including his new defensive coordinator.
Golding, 38, spent the last three seasons in Tuscaloosa on Saban’s staff. He will replace Chris Partridge and Maurice Crum as defensive coordinator, but it is unclear what will happen with the latter two.
While the move is undoubtedly striking, considering that Kiffin took Saban’s defensive coordinator, some Crimson Tide fans are rejoicing. Alabama has not had a top-five defense since Golding’s arrival, and ranked inside the Top 10 just one time in 2021.
However, Ole Miss allowed more than 380 yards per game in 2022 after D.J. Durkin left the program for the same role at Texas A&M during the previous offseason. A top-10, even a top-20 defense would be a major upgrade.
Perhaps Pete Golding is the water that the grass in Oxford needs?
Golding is tasked with reviving a defense that ranked No. 75 at the end of last season. It’s not going to be easy, especially considering the schedule.
The Rebels will play at reigning national champion Georgia, at reigning Cotton Bowl champion Tulane, at Auburn, and at Mississippi State, in addition to home games against Texas A&M, Arkansas and LSU. Golding will also return to his previous employer for a road game in Tuscaloosa on the fourth Saturday in September.
A game that already has an underlying storyline between Kiffin and Saban, who are both friends and foes, will also include the Golding element. It’s going to make things extra spicy!