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Lane Kiffin: We didn't steal Alabama's signals, and here's why

One of the few flaws in Nick Saban's program is that, on the rare occasion the Crimson Tide are beaten, it's often because of outside factors -- the players have moved on mentally to the NFL, the coaches are worried about their next jobs -- and rarely because Alabama just got beat.

Alabama didn't get beat by Ole Miss on Saturday night, but its defense was embarrassed by the Rebels.

Lane Kiffin's crew rolled up 647 yards (the most ever gained on a Nick Saban-led Alabama team) on 86 plays. Matt Corral completed 21-of-28 passes for 365 yards and two touchdowns, Snoop Conner and Jerrion Ealy both ran for 120 yards and two touchdowns, and two Rebel receivers topped the 140-yard mark.

Everything Kiffin and offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby worked, and so afterward it was theorized that maybe Ole Miss had Alabama's signals. Lane did work previously at Alabama, right?

“It seemed like everything we did, though, they had an answer for,” Saban said after the game. “I don’t know if they had our signals or what. That’s not anything unusual.

“But it seemed like every time we called something they had the best play that they could have against it.”

Added linebacker Dylan Moses: “They had an answer for everything we lined up in."

There are a few problems with this theory.

First, Kiffin hasn't worked at Alabama since 2016. Have Alabama's signals not changed at all in the four seasons since, particularly considering Lane and defensive coordinator Pete Golding never even crossed paths in Tuscaloosa?

Alabama's defense is, of course, Saban's defense, but to think that the Tide's defensive signals wouldn't evolve with time as players, coaches and schemes change just doesn't past the smell test. And if the signals were the exact same as they were in 2016... wouldn't you want to take extra care to change them the week before you play Lane Kiffin?

Anyway, Kiffin tweeted Sunday night that Ole Miss never cracked Alabama's signals because it never cared to try.

https://twitter.com/lane_kiffin/status/1315350518890483718?s=21

Kiffin's response goes out of its way to be respectful of Alabama and Saban, and it should be noted Saban wasn't alleging a conspiracy against Ole Miss and Kiffin, either. If Ole Miss had Alabama's signals, that's Bama's problem, not Ole Miss's.

But, according to Kiffin's testimony, the crime was what Ole Miss did to Alabama's defense after the snap, not before.