Saturdays in Athens

George Somerville

week six 

9th october 2021

Welcome to our weekly round up of life in the Southeastern Conference.

Another mixed bag for y’all this week. As is now the norm, Mississippi coach Lane Kiffin grabs the headlines AND the popcorn; Mike Leach gets a great result against the Aggies and tells us so; Coach O has his foot in his mouth AGAIN, and we get to speak with the Big Man -Quinnen Williams – about the Alabama process!

 Here are this weeks let’s get started y’all!

"Get Your Popcorn Ready...!"

Photo Credit: The Rebel Walk/ CBS Sports

Oxford, Ms

Sorry, not sorry for the amount of Lane Kiffin which appears on these pages. He is box office and keeps people like me employed. And no more so than this week, when the Ole Miss Rebels rolled into Tuscaloosa to meet the Alabama Crimson Tide.

To say Kiffin was pumped is perhaps an understatement. Immediately prior to kick off, CBS sideline reporter Jamie Erdahl asked Kiffin what were in his notes from his time in Tuscaloosa which would help him beat his Old boss, Kiffin did what Kiffin did best. He dropped the mic……

“well let’s hope we didn’t run out of pages”,

Kiffin said in response to his “notebook”,

“so there you go….get your popcorn ready”…

This was a reference to an old T.O. quote. At which point Kiffin dropped his headphones and ran off to the sideline leaving Erdahl speechless.

Per and from Kiffin’s Monday press conference, the Mississippi Head Coach rued his comments. Kiffin said,

“I contacted Jamie and knew she knew that was not on purpose. That was not done on purpose at all. It looked like it though. I saw it.”

Kiffin explains,


“And I didn’t realise it was the last question either. They were calling for the kick off return….I literally didn’t know there was another question. I found out afterward that it looked rude. And it did”.


That was not premeditated. Sometimes you get caught up in emotions. I just heard someone yelling in the locker room, someone saying that, I don’t even know why it came out – I actually said to (offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby) on the headset, ‘I just said something really stupid. You better score a lot of points.”

Of course this might just have come off if the Rebels had put up a fight against the Crimson Tide. 28-0 at the half put paid to any game plan Kiffin had. The Rebels were turned over.

Next Arkansas roll into Oxford. Life isn’t getting much easier for the Rebels. Time to get the popcorn out…..

#HottyToddy #ComeToTheSip

"I've Done It More Than Most People"

Photo Credit: Mike Leach Official Twitter

Stark-Vegas, MS

I admit that I have written far less about Mike Leach and his Mississippi State Bulldogs than I had hoped thus far in 2021. 

But to be honest I didn’t expect either to be writing about what is fast becoming a miserable season for the Texas Aggies either.

So this week I get to write about both. But should this come as a surprise if you delve into Mike Leach’s past? With his quite incredible record at Kyle Field……no? Well, read on.

But why don’t we let the Hail State Head Coach tell the story. Mike Leach said this after the game,

“It’s always good to win at Kyle Field, and I’ve done it more than most people have,” 

And it’s true,  he has. In games with Mike Leach as Head Coach at Texas Tech and now Mississippi State, Leach has a 4-2 win record in games at Kyle Field. Which is quite a record.

As only Coach Leach does, he expanded about Kyle Field as an experience.

“It’s awesome to win at Kyle Field. Kyle Field’s one of the greatest places. I’d be willing to hear your list if you wanted to offer it of better stadiums to play, but if this is below that top five, I mean you’re going to have to get another line of work. It’s not going to be better than this.”

Never change, Coach Leach. Never change.


Coach O In Hot Water Again....

Image Credit:AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

Baton Rouge, LA.

Negative vibes continue to circulate around Tiger Stadium.

First this week was the news that superstar cornerback Derek Stingley Jr will likely miss the rest of the season with a foot injury, which has been overhanging from the summer. LSU confirmed this week that Stingley had undergone a procedure to correct the issue.

Talking on the SEC Coaches mid-week Conference call, Ed Orgeron said this about Stingley,

“You just have to look at it and play it by ear. It’s one of these injuries that was nagging. He went to the doctor to have it taken care of”.

when asked whether Stingley had played his last game for the Tigers, Orgeron wasn’t so sure,

“you know, I think if he can I think he will, Knowing Derek and talking to him, he wants to come back

But obviously that’s a decision that a family has to make and I think each individual is different”.

By midweek things had taken another turn for the worst for Orgeron. On his weekly radio show Orgeron was caught out by a prank caller. While the call was terminated, the caller had said enough to anger Orgeron. The LSU coach went on to say,

“you know, down the Bayou, we got a nice little fishing hole for people like that”,

Which turns out to be Cajun for sleeping with the fishes. While I’m sure some would turn a blind eye to that turn of phrase, patience within the LSU community is wearing thin with Orgeron.  I admit mostly – well, exclusively – due to the poor performance of the Tigers last season and again this year so far. But each time Coach O embarrasses the school, the dissension rises. 

I have said this before. Unless Orgeron gets this team turned around PDQ, he’s not the Tigers Head Coach next season. And he starts with Kentucky. A team that just beat Florida……oh…


The Process

Photo credit: George Somerville

London, UK

The Big Man, Quinnen Williams is fondly remembered in Tuscaloosa. A mountain of a man, Williams was the third overall pick in the 2019 draft, moving to New York to be with the Jets.

The Jets are in London this week and The Touchdown made it along to the Jets media day. Could I miss an opportunity to ask the big man about his time in Alabama and how this helped him prepare for the NFL? No, I could not. 

Williams was more than happy to talk about Alabama and had this to say about his time in Tuscaloosa,

“Playing for Alabama we had a super disciplined, amazing coach in Coach Saban. And it helped me get ready for the real world, get ready for the business aspect of the real world and to get ready for the talent level of the NFL.


In college, especially at Alabama, there were some huge talents like – even just in my Defensive line we had Da’Ron Payne and Jonathon Allen, the list goes on and on. Big time starters in the NFL right now.

So the competition level in practice was even harder than in games some times”. 

Williams went on to talk about the transition from College to the NFL,

“It’s way different man, guys are way much smarter in the NFL. Guys put way more money, effort and time into their bodies, into their skills and their playbooks in general because they have more time now”

A big smile comes over Quinnen’s face,

“At college you got to do school and stuff like that. You really don’t think about recovery, you’re young. Now in the NFL you’ve got guys – look at Lebron James, he spends a million dollars his body in the NBA, Russell Wilson has his own entire training staff….”

Williams has an even bigger smile on his face…

“that’s one of the biggest things that Alabama didn’t prepare me for.”

Awesome to see a firm Alabama favourite in London and to get the chance to speak with the Big Man.