In his postgame news conference, Kiffin was asked if Fisher’s jabs in February served as a motivating factor for the matchup.
“It’s real. I don’t do coachspeak,” Kiffin said. “Most coaches would say no. But when someone attacks you personally and calls you and your buddy Coach [Nick] Saban both clowns, you take that personal.”
“I’m glad we won,” Kiffin added with a smile.
The rift dates back to the Fisher-Saban feud in February after Saban told a group of Alabama businessmen that Texas A&M “bought every player” in its recruiting class with name, image and likeness (NIL) deals. Fisher then went after Saban, and Fisher included Kiffin after he continued to take jabs at the Aggies.
“We don’t have the funding resources as some schools with the NIL deals,” Kiffin said then. “It’s like dealing with salary caps. I joked I didn’t know if Texas A&M incurred a luxury tax with how much they paid for their signing class.”
Fisher responded in his news conference by ripping Saban. “And then to have coaches in our league say it? Clown acts,” Fisher then added. “Irresponsible as hell. Multiple coaches in our league, the guys griping about NIL and transfer portal, are using it the most. That’s the ironic part. It does piss me off.”
On Saturday, during a postgame interview on the field, Kiffin was asked what he would be dressing as for Halloween.
“Maybe Jimbo has a Joker outfit for me,” he responded.
“Maybe Jimbo has a Joker outfit for me.”
— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) October 30, 2022
The Aggies also had several injuries, mostly to defensive linemen, during the game, which slowed the action at times. The NCAA added a new rule in April that would allow for schools to report suspicious injury timeouts. Kiffin was visibly annoyed when asked about Texas A&M’s stoppages.
“I’m not going to get very far into it,” he said. “At one point, it was eight injury timeouts, all on defense. Whatever. It is what it is. There’s a way around the rule. I’m not going to say they did it. But what are the analytics of that happening? And then seeing the players like a play or two later back out there …”
Kiffin made repeated comments about five-star recruits and discussed what an achievement it was to rush for 390 yards against members of the Aggies’ highly touted recruiting class, calling them “some of the best high school players ever” in the “best recruiting class in the history of football.”
During the game, the broadcast caught Kiffin talking to a Texas A&M player, telling him to lay down and fake another injury.
“I was just having fun with them,” Kiffin said. “Those kids are highly energetic, like a lot of five-stars. Kind of fun to mess with. It was all good.”