In his final game with the Ole Miss Rebels, Breeland Speaks recovered a timely fumble with 1:22 remaining in the first half of the 2017 Egg Bowl to stop up a Mississippi State drive that held a lot of promise. The turnover immediately killed the Bulldogs’ designs on a go-ahead scoring attempt before halftime, and led to Ole Miss holding a 10-6 lead as the teams entered the locker room. The Rebels would go on to win the rivalry contest, 31-28.
In the scrum immediately following Speaks’ fumble recovery, he coyly turned toward the Mississippi State sideline and seemingly waved directly into ESPN’s camera.
Speaks’ facetious wave immediately went viral, and it was helped along by him waving his way out of Mississippi State’s stadium following an ejection for unsportsmanlike conduct in the game’s second half.
Speaks’ hilarious “hi, how are you?” moment from last season’s chippy installment of the most asinine rivalry in college football has long been assumed to be the happy coincidence of the Ole Miss defensive end spying ESPN’s sideline camera trained on his gleaming face and responding in kind to a national audience with a perfectly sardonic waving gesture. That assumption is wholly incorrect, though, as Speaks was waving at one specific individual on the CLANGA sideline: namely, then Mississippi State head coach, Dan Mullen.
At this year’s NFL Combine, SB Nation’s Alex Kirshner asked Speaks about his famous wave, and Speaks had this to say:
SBN: What gave you the inspiration to find the camera in that moment?
Speaks: I actually didn’t see the camera … I was waving at the head coach, and when I got to my phone I saw I was viral, people were thinking I was looking at the camera.
SBN: So you were waving at Coach Mullen the entire time? Were you worried about getting a taunting penalty for waving at him or anything?
Speaks: For a wave? … No, I wasn’t really focused on that. I was just being in the moment.
What refreshing candor for an athlete to straight-up admit he was purposely trolling an opposing team’s coach after a dramatic turnover. How utterly perfect and hilarious that Speaks should — while still reclining comfortably on a recovered fumble — turn to a detested rival’s head coach and ecstatically wave hello.
Better still, Speaks went on to explain what was running through his head while bidding Dan Mullen the salutary gesture. From AL.com:
“I got your football,” Speaks said of what his message was after the play. “I couldn’t have picked a better way to finish (my college career). Going viral, probably that’s something I’ve never really thought of. Come back to my phone and you got ESPN got you on their Instagram page, everybody got you on their Instagram page. It was just crazy.”