OXFORD, Miss — The Ole Miss football team is currently being hit hard by COVID-19, according to head coach Lane Kiffin. The players who are out are missing either due to positive tests or close-contact tracing.
During Wednesday’s regularly-scheduled Zoom meeting with reporters, Kiffin explained the situation. “For the first time, we are having issues with that,” he said, regarding COVID.
“We’ve got a number of guys out. I’m not going to get into the numbers. We have not had that in-season. We had that during camp. This is the first time we are dealing with it in season.”
Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin on COVID
“It’s very difficult moving people around…and we’re beat up, too, from a very intense game versus a great team Saturday (Alabama),” Kiffin continued.
Coach Kiffin said if the game against Arkansas were today, the Rebels could play. But he also emphasized the seriousness of the situation. “We are not in a great situation, numbers-wise, at all.”
Kiffin on if COVID numbers might jeopardize Saturday's game status: "I hope not. If we were to play today, we could play. Hopefully it stays that way."
— The Rebel Walk (@TheRebelWalk) October 14, 2020
The Rebels’ coach was asked if he had any idea from where the outbreak originated. “I think so,” he replied. “I mean I know who did it. I don’t think it was actually anything while they were here,” Kiffin said.
“I said Sunday or Monday — our first meeting — that it just got real,” Kiffin continued.
“Anytime you talk about things, it doesn’t hit home until it happens to you. Now they’re seeing stand seeing depth charts move. People have to change positions and different things. I hope it really was another reminder. It only takes one person to screw it up.“
SEC cancellation policy
The SEC released its cancellation policy in September and stated at least 53 scholarship players must be available to participate in a game, with a minimum number of scholarship players required for some positions. The requirements include one quarterback; seven offensive linemen, including one center; and four defensive linemen.
If a team is unable to meet those requirements, it will have the option to play the game. However, if the school declines, Commissioner Greg Sankey would then need to approve whether a game is rescheduled or declared no contest.
COVID affecting SEC play
Earlier Wednesday, it was announced that due to positive COVID test results by the Florida Gators, their game with LSU would be postponed.
LSU vs. Florida will now be in December due to Covid cases causing the game to be rescheduled. https://t.co/JalYtR1Fg6
— Steven Dial (@StevenDialFox4) October 14, 2020
For now, Coach Kiffin is planning on the Rebels playing Arkansas Saturday at 2:30 p.m. Stay tuned to The Rebel Walk for more information as it comes.