Lane Kiffin has been 750 miles southwest of Tuscaloosa for six months, which means we get the occasional confidential tidbit on their interesting relationship.
The pair made magic in three seasons together at Alabama, winning 40 games, three SEC titles and one national championship. However, their sideline dust-ups, abrupt break-up before January's title game and whispers of continuous tension earned just as many headlines — especially when the whispers come from former players.
"We would just try to blow it up and just destroy it and kill the offense and then you would know Kiffin’s just . . . gonna get it, after you just blow it up in the backfield," former Alabama defensive lineman Jonathan Allen said in April. "That’s probably the most fun we had at Alabama during practice this year, just watching Coach Saban lay into Kiffin.”
The most notable exchange came in the fourth quarter of last September's win over Western Kentucky — which Saban called one his worst wins at Alabama. We finally know more about it, thanks to a book by Alabama radio analyst and longtime Saban friend Phil Savage.
Here's an excerpt from AL.com that says Saban told Kiffin "dumb offensive coordinators call dumb plays."
Savage writes that Kiffin said into his headset "dumb players make dumb plays," which all the Crimson Tide coaches heard. Saban snapped back with "no, dumb offensive coordinators call dumb plays." There were probably a few expletives left out.
There are quite a few more interesting items in Savage's book, including Texas A&M tipping off their plays before their loss to the Tide in 2016 and Saban's "process" not beginning with Bill Belichick.