When Lane Kiffin was announced as Ole Miss' coach in December 2019, the first thought that came to nearly everybody's mind was that he would get to face off with Nick Saban and Alabama every year. The first of those meetings will take place on Saturday when the No. 2 Crimson Tide will cross the state line and take on the Rebels in Oxford, Mississippi.
And just as you would expect, the verbal jabs are already flying -- in a playful fashion.
During an appearance on "The Dan Patrick Show" this Wednesday, Kiffin suggested that, if the two met on the field, Saban wouldn't be able to cover him. (Kiffin is a former quarterback, while Saban is a former defensive back.)
"I don't play and he doesn't play, so [Ole Miss would] have a better chance if that was the case," Kiffin said. "I don't think he can cover me. ... He's in his like 60s. ... I was telling someone the other day, 'I'm really worried about Coach. He's elderly now.'"
Saban responded to his former assistant's joke/jab during his Wednesday press conference.
"I think he's probably right. I wouldn't disagree with him. I guess what I would ask is, when he's my age, what's he going to do?" the 68-year-old Saban said. "I don't know, it's a little bit of a disadvantage to be my age and have had a hip replacement, but I still pride myself on my ability to cover. I just don't think I can cover him."
Kiffin responded with one simple emoji on Twitter.
Kffin was hired by Saban prior to the 2014 season and led an offensive renaissance in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He helped the Crimson Tide win three straight SEC championships and the 2015 national title. Saban fired Kiffin after the 2016 Peach Bowl national semifinal win over Washington and replaced him in the booth with Steve Sarkisian, who served as offensive coordinator in the loss to Clemson in the College Football Playoff National Championship.