Lane Kiffin had a clear strategy against Alabama on Saturday. It was to be aggressive early, and the Rebels did that several times, especially on the fourth down.
But ESPN commentator Paul Finebaum suggested on a recent episode of the ESPN College Football Podcast, that Kiffin made a mistake by giving up early momentum. Kiffin and Ole Miss elected to go for it on 4th and 1 from the six yard line. The Rebels did not convert, and turned it over on downs, despite the 16-play, 59-yard drive.
“You see it, Matt, after missed field goals,” Finebaum said. “How many times does the other team come right down and punch it in? And when you go all the way down there, I understand the mentality, but you’re playing at Alabama, and if you can walk away with something, walk away with some points on the board. At least you can exhale and go, ‘OK, we got three points, we had a really good drive.’ You know one play misfired. I know he got blown up for the popcorn line which by the way wasn’t a bad line. It’s just, people want to criticize Lane, fine. But that was his biggest mistake. ”
Ultimately, Finebaum believed that it was too early to take that kind of risk.
“Gambling later on is OK… Nick Saban tried it at the end of the game to say, ‘You know, I can do it, too.’ It didn’t work for him, it cost the team 7 points which really (didn’t ‘t matter) at the end of the game, “Finebaum said. “It was a 42-7 game. That’s where the game should have ended. It was 42-21, it doesn’t mean anything, but I think Lane just over-thought that one. I don’t know. His line about analytics was just pure BS (too). ”