Former Ole Miss offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby was recently hired as head coach for the Mississippi State Bulldogs. While this is a natural career progression, Lebby is rumored to have had a tumultuous exit behind the scenes in Oxford. And fast forward a few years has happened to end up at the Rebels biggest rival right down the road in Starkville.
Lane Kiffin, Jeff Lebby and the Egg Bowl rivalry renewed
During his time in Oxford, Lebby’s offenses ranked third in the SEC in 2020 and fourth in 2021. You would think that with those rankings and the fact that the Rebels went 10-3 in 2021 and led the SEC in rushing that everything was kosher. And that’s when things seemed to escalate internally.
Offensive line coach Randy Clements was terminated well into the offseason in 2021 by Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin. According to an article by ESPN’s Chris Low, the firing was for “football reasons and not related to any off-field issues.” That is where this does not add up considering the success of the offense as a whole the Rebels had in 2020 and 2021. And as offensive coordinator, one could imagine this more than likely did not sit well with Lebby.
Columnist, Zach Berry of RedCupRebellion points out in an article that Lebby and Clements had 10 years of coaching experience together.
Later that year on December 10th of 2021, Lebby left Oxford to take another offensive coordinator position with the Oklahoma Sooners. While the Sooners paid him handsomely at $5.7 million on a three-year contract, one can only speculate that things were not great in Oxford behind the scenes with the timing of Clements’ firing, who is a good friend of Lebby’s.
Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin’s comment’s further validate the apparent tension between the two as he took to “X” retweeting Lebby’s post from 2021 where Lebby posted a picture of him in Ole Miss socks saying “we run the sip.” Kiffin’s second post came a few weeks ago trolling again on “X” with a playful way to welcome Lebby back to the state of Mississippi saying, “I know you missed the food.
On top of it all, the two schools are bitter in-state rivals that meet annually for the Egg Bowl. While there is transparent friction between the two, this should help to rejuvenate a rivalry that is lost some steam the past few years.