Not one week after he last took a shot at Texas A&M football, Lane Kiffin is back with more comments about the Aggies—Jimbo Fisher in particular. The SEC spring meetings in Destin are going on this week, and Kiffin was asked by Brent Zwerneman of the Houston Chronicle about the contentious back-and-forth (is it really a back-and-forth if it’s only one person talking about it?) between him and Jimbo.
For those of you who don’t want to or can’t watch the video, here are his words:
"“He’ll just say certain things that just… cracks (sic) me up, like… so… I struggle letting it go on those things sometimes. My SID tells me to let it go, but when someone says that-that NIL-NIL has nothing to do with why someone… you know, signs at their place and then signs the best class in the history of recruiting, I struggle with that statement.”"
The “I’m not mad, I’m actually, laugheing at it all…” defense has a long and storied history on the internet, so it makes sense that someone as online as Kiffin would dust off an old classic such as this. Still, however, the transparency of this argument is evident. It does not “crack him up” that the Texas A&M football head man called out his glib, unprofessional, and uncalled-for comments about the 2022 recruiting class. It does not “crack him up” that Jimbo has always been a better recruiter than him, no matter whether pre or post-NIL. It does not “crack him up” that the natural advantages of Texas A&M have been enough to lure away not only prospects he wanted but coaches on his staff. In fact, he clearly chafes at these realities.
It’s not hard to read between the lines here. A person doesn’t “struggle letting go” of things that he or she thinks are just funny. It comes off that Kiffin is upset and insecure about the fact that the Aggies got the class they did in 2022 and chose to channel those feelings into public jabs towards the Texas A&M football program and head coach. Importantly, right beforehand, DJ Durkin had left Kiffin’s program to join the Texas A&M football staff—this doubtless played into Kiffin’s response, as he definitely wanted to keep Durkin on board. As a reminder, here’s how Jimbo responded (relevant text below):
"(3:51) “And then to have coaches in our league and across this league to say (that NIL was the driving force behind this class)? Clown acts. Alright? Irresponsible as hell. Multiple coaches in our league. And the guys griping about NIL, griping about (the) transfer portal (are) using it the most and bragging about it the most. That’s the ironic part. You want character? I’ll… trust, I’ll take (it up) with any of y’all. It’s a joke. It does piss me off…(4:42) “And I’ll tell you what, I know how some of those guys recruit, too. Go dig into that. I know the history, I know the tradition-I know-and I know things. Trust me, you don’t want to go down that avenue. It’s ridiculous, and it’s irresponsible, and it’s unbelievable. I ain’t just talking about one. Multiple people got NIL issues…”(5:16) “And then we gripe about the transfer portal? Then you ta-you guys take more than anybody. What’s (sic) about that, and what goes on? Hyp-the hypocrisy is a joke. It’s an absolute joke, and it’s insulting to us-to our staff, how hard we worked, to how we do things, it’s insulting to Texas A&M, ’cause there ain’t a better place to go to school and play ball. If you don’t like it we’re coming on, get used to it. We ain’t going nowhere."
Jimbo continued on with various other comments, but this is the substance of his response. It is not insignificant, in my estimation, that he never mentioned Kiffin by name. In fact, he makes it rather clear that he is addressing multiple different coaches, and much of his wording in the middle portion that I quoted above was replicated when he specifically addressed Saban later that summer. Jimbo’s ire had arisen from multiple sources—the internet article citing the outrageous $30 million claim (perhaps not coincidentally written by an Ole Miss graduate), the Notre Dame associate AD that propagated said article, etc.—but the fact that coaches within his own division had made comments like Kiffin’s definitely seemed to be the straw that broke the camel’s back for him.
Earlier last week, I partially chronicled Kiffin’s continued shots at Jimbo and Texas A&M that followed these remarks. Since Jimbo made these comments, he has not said anything publicly about Kiffin in particular except with regard to questions leading up to the Texas A&M-Ole Miss game week last year. When asked directly about other comments Kiffin has made, Jimbo has kept mum. Kiffin himself has no such restraint.
Another strange factor here is the reality that Ole Miss is currently on a two-game winning streak against the Aggies. You might think that the on-field result could speak for itself in a situation like this. Not so, apparently, if you are Lane Kiffin. One can only imagine how the insecurity and petty comments might ramp up when he actually loses a game to the Aggies.
Hopefully that’s something that Aggie fans will witness this coming fall.