Lane Kiffin's history alongside and with Ed Orgeron stretches back now almost two decades, to the early days of their work together as assistant coaches on Pete Carroll's powerhouse University of Southern California staffs.
Kiffin then brought Orgeron with him for a year on Rocky Top, when Kiffin spent the 2009 season as the University of Tennessee head coach, and later had Orgeron with him in key positions on Kiffin's own staff at USC.
Now for the past two years, they've been head coaches atop competing Southeastern Conference programs.
But while Kiffin has Ole Miss ascending, now 5-1 and ranked 12th nationally in both the AP and USA Today polls, Orgeron is being ushered out at LSU at season's end; it's been 21 months since the Tigers captured the 2019 College Football Playoff title.
"I don't know the details for all that stuff,” Kiffin said as it pertained to Orgeron's impending exit at season's end. “Obviously Ed did a great job there and won a national championship, so I'm not really sure what happened there as of late. It's crazy because they just beat a really good Florida team (last weekend), and I'm sure not a lot of people really gave him a chance after the Kentucky game. It shows that they have great players and can play really well, and they did that.”
But, Kiffin explained, the move to part from Orgeron revealed that it was quite possible that the shelf life on a major-college job arguably has transitioned to its shortest point.
“I think to finish that, this is the profession that we've always been in, but now more than ever it's not as much what have you done in the last year but rather what have you done this Saturday,” Kiffin said. “I just had this conversation with another head coach who's struggling a little bit, and I was trying to motivate him.
“Every Sunday you're either a good or bad coach based off of that Saturday, and it switches. When I see a thing on SEC Network when I walk by where someone is talking bad about Saban after the A&M game as a coach, it just shows you where we're at."
As Kiffin's Rebels prepare to host Orgeron's LSU squad Saturday inside Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, he dismissed any notion that his longstanding friendship with Orgeron could complicate game preparations.
After all, as Kiffin has repeatedly noted, “this is my life” has become his catch-all phrase for the degrees of familiarity and storylines that have seemed to follow Kiffin each week, such as in last week's 31-26 win on Rocky Top.
"It doesn't make this awkward for me,” Kiffin said. “Just like last week, it seems like there's always something every week, and so our preparation last week had nothing to do with me having coached there before. This week has nothing to do with my relationship with Coach O. It's just one day at a time preparing, and like I told our team this morning in our team meeting, good is the enemy of great, and I feel like that's where we are right now. We do good things and we get satisfied with them. We don't do great things and we don't close that game out and win a two or three possession game like I feel like we should in the second half. We get complacent.
“So, I don't think about anything related to Coach O this week or any of that. We have a really good relationship. He's not a big talk-on-the-phone kind of guy, as you can imagine, but he actually texted me after their game on Saturday. He's an awesome guy and a phenomenal coach."