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Pete Golding discusses differences in Lane Kiffin’s coaching style compared to Nick Saban and why he left Alabama

Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban and Alabama Defensive Coordinator / Inside Linebackers Coach Pete Golding discuss strategy during practice at Thomas-Drew Practice Fields in Tuscaloosa, AL on Monday, Oct 17, 2022.
Photo courtesy of Alabama Athletics

Despite operating from his coaching tree there are several obvious differences between Nick Saban and Lane Kiffin.

Kiffin boasts an entertaining online personality throwing friendly jabs at members of the media and other head coaches (including Saban) across the SEC.

Pete Golding has now operated in both Alabama and Ole Miss’ football buildings, making him the perfect person to ask about the difference in operations between Kiffin and Saban.

“A lot,” Golding said when discussing the differences according to the Clarion Ledger. “Especially in the meeting format.”

But according to Golding, Kiffin staying authentic to himself rather than trying to emulate the seven-time national champion is a major positive as he continues to build the Rebels’ program.

“I think it’s very easy, once you’ve been in a place for a long period of time, to go somewhere else and try to run it exactly the same. And it’s not,” Golding said. “You don’t have the same resources. It’s not the same people. It’s not the same place.

“I think Coach Kiffin does a really good job of putting his own personality on the program, and still not getting away from the culture and foundation, the discipline, the toughness and all those things that you need for a winning program, but still having his own personality. I think he and I both learned a lot from (Alabama).”

RELATED: Lane Kiffin thanks Paul Finebaum for pissing off Nick Saban

Golding spent five seasons with the Crimson Tide, four of which serving as the team’s defensive coordinator. Although there were a few bumps along the way, Golding departing Alabama for Ole Miss this past January came as a bit of a surprise. 

The decision to leave was ultimately a family oriented one as Golding explained that he desired to be a part of a program where his family could be more involved.

“I think you get so locked into a career and you get focused on the next step,” Golding said. “… When you’re married and you got three kids, sometimes you lose the value of what you’re really about. Having won national championships and a lot of SEC championships and all of that, I still wanted to go somewhere my family could be more involved.

“When you can go somewhere that’s already had success, that I think is very close to being elite year-in and year-out, and feel like you can have an impact and you can help that, especially on your side of the ball, while still being somewhere that your wife wants to be, and still do what you love to do, I think that’s special.”

It won’t be long before Golding makes his return to Bryant-Denny Stadium as Ole Miss with travel to Alabama on Sept. 23.

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Patrick Dowd is a Reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter, via Pat_Dowd77

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