Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel, and Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde and Ross Dellenger discuss Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin’s busy night on Twitter denying a report that he plans to leave Ole Miss for Auburn later this week, and debate if Lane will eventually end up at Auburn despite his denial.
PAT FORDE: We had Lane Kiffin, short prep week, big rivalry game. Your team just sucked on Saturday against Arkansas, and he spends three hours on Twitter lighting this dude up.
DAN WETZEL: All right, one game that will be played-- although, really, you never know until they kick it off-- the Egg Bowl. Always a treat. Thanksgiving night. It's a window into Mississippi crazy, which is a certain level of crazy. Ross detailed the numerous Egg Bowl things this week in a story.
It added some spice on Monday night when Jon Sokoloff, a reporter for WCBI News out of Columbus, Mississippi, Northeast Mississippi-- kind of close to Starkville though-- reported that sources told him that Lane Kiffin was planning on resigning Friday and will become the head coach at Auburn. Now Auburn has a game Saturday, so I don't know about the timeline.
The Lane Kiffin-- I remember seeing this and thinking, OK, well, this won't take long for old Lane to come back. Or if he says nothing, you can pretty sure-- I mean, it's not like Lane's not on Twitter most of the day. Sure enough, Lane comes back and says, "That's news to me. Nice sources."
He then puts out his own report, saying Jon Sokoloff is leaving WCBI to take the lead anchor job at WLOX down in Biloxi, citing his own sources, which was hysterical, which then led to the guy who has the job at WLOX being like, hey, what the hell, man? I didn't know I was getting fired [LAUGHS] as a joke. And so it all spins, and it was a good time. But we'll wait and see whether Jon Sokoloff is correct. Because this could be like reporting someone is dead. Eventually, you're right.
ROSS DELLENGER: Exactly. Nailed it.
DAN WETZEL: Except for the famous "Jerusalem Post" story of Jesus's death, which had a nasty correction in the paper three days later. What the hell? That's a bad day for-- I saw the stone cover the-- I saw it myself, boss. No, he is walking around. He's walking around. You tell me he's dead. He's not dead. You reported it. Not true.
Anyway, is Lane Kiffin going to Auburn either Friday, Saturday, Sunday, or whenever? Ross, your thoughts on this little spice to the already spicy Egg Bowl.
ROSS DELLENGER: Yeah, I think you kind of nailed it, reporting somebody is dead and eventually being right. At some point, you're going to be right. We deal with this every year, it feels like, whether it's TV reporter, radio broadcaster, blogger has insight into the program, into the people and report something that has been speculated for days and weeks, if not months. And days later, sometimes, they're right. Days later, sometimes, they're wrong.
I think it's one of the-- I think it's a tricky situation. As both of you know, it's kind of like a domino game, these coaching carousels, where one opening or one decision starts tumbling the domino, toppling the dominoes. And just because three days before Thanksgiving, there's talk and serious talk between a coach and a school doesn't mean that coach and school are going to end up together. I think we've seen it over and over and over again.
I'm just going to go back to 2016 when LSU and Tom Herman had basically verbally agreed Tom Herman is going to become LSU's coach. They were going to go get him the next morning. But sometimes, things happen, again, in the domino game where that changes. And, obviously, the Texas job opened, and Tom went to Texas.
I think there's a situation here where there's a lot of speculation and all this smoke around it. But sometimes, at the end of the day, it doesn't happen. It might be on the way to happening, but it can be derailed. And we've seen it happen over and over again. And that feels like-- it feels like there's a jumping the gun early situation here.
PAT FORDE: I don't know Jon Sokoloff. He might be a fine reporter. But I'm going to read the sum total of his story that is posted on the WCBI website. It's four sentences.
The first sentence says, "Sources say Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin is planning to step down Friday and become the next head coach of Auburn." The second sentence, "Moments ago, sources in the Ole Miss athletic department denied that report." So we've got conflict right there. He's reporting this, and then the second sentence is people denying his own report.
The third sentence, "Sources close to Auburn say they have not offered the head coaching job to anyone at this time." So we got three sentences of complete conflict. Then the fourth sentence, "Ole Miss and Mississippi State play in the annual Egg Bowl on Thursday. Auburn faces Alabama in the annual Iron Bowl this Saturday." That's it. That's all we got, and it's a mess of a story. So, yes, I think this could eventually be correct. I don't think it was necessarily reportable on Monday night.
And then, of course, we had Lane Kiffin, short prep week, big rivalry game. Your team just sucked on Saturday against Arkansas, and he spends three hours on Twitter lighting this dude up.
DAN WETZEL: He put a picture out of a gravestone, and it said "Jon Sokoloff's career."
PAT FORDE: Yeah. Oh yeah.
ROSS DELLENGER: Unbelievable.
DAN WETZEL: All right, so a little inside baseball for reporters for those that-- OK, we've all learned this, often the hard way. Yeah, it's not done until it's done.