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WATCH: Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin’s Monday press conference

WATCH: Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin’s Monday press conference

OXFORD, Miss. – Ole Miss football head coach Lane Kiffin met with the media Monday to recap the Rebels’ defeat to No. 2 Alabama and take a look ahead at the team’s fourth game of the season on the road Saturday at Arkansas (2:30 p.m. CT, ESPN2). A video and transcript of the press conference can be found below.

Opening statement…
“Review of the game. Not a lot of difference than what we talked about after the game that night. Had a chance. Best team in the country, had them on the ropes for a while. When you do that, you have to make the plays. There are a lot of plays to point to. (Mac Jones) finally threw us one. We had a chance to intercept it in the red zone and we drop it. You’re not going to get many of those chances against Mac. Got to make that play. Then the two fumbled snaps, but especially the second one. It’s third down, and we’re running a play where Kenny Yeboah is going to the flat. (Dylan Moses) has him and he’s looking in the backfield and Kenny is going to be wide open for a touchdown and we fumbled the snap. I think that would’ve tied it up and really kept the pressure on them. Can’t have those things happen. Ended up having to settle for a field goal there. Would’ve continued to be all touchdowns in the second half for both teams at that point. They have a really good team, great players, great coaching. We had a chance to beat them in our first year here. Like I’ve said before, we’re getting started. Got a lot of work to do. This is just the beginning. I said it the other day, this is the beginning of the future.”

On stealing defensive signals…
“First off, I’ve never known the signals. I never even paid attention to that when I was there. I’m sure they wouldn’t even be the same. This is a new coordinator. I love Coach Saban and have a lot of respect for him. But if you understand tempo, the signal wouldn’t help us. We call the play basically before the last play is even over. Before they even mark the ball, we call our play. Then they scramble to get a play called. They’re just trying to get their guys lined up. It wouldn’t do us any good. By the time someone would relay that to us, we’re already snapping the ball. So I don’t know where that came from. People do it. It’s not illegal. People do it all the time, but it’s usually people who play slower. People steal our signals all the time. But it’s hard to translate to the players because we’re going so fast. We didn’t do that.”

On Kendall Briles…
“I would hope he’d say he learned some things offensively. I know when we watch him, we see a lot of carryover from FAU stuff that we did together that he kept at Florida State and now there (at Arkansas). Our defensive signals, he wouldn’t know those. That’s the least of our worries—our defensive signals. We’ve got to align better, tackle better and make more plays.”

On the defensive system…
“Confidence is very fragile. No matter who you are. The best quarterbacks in the world get hit around in Super Bowls and we’ve seen them play bad. I’ve always said that. When you’re in a run like this where we’re struggling in that phase of the game, it’s hard. We’re playing some great players. A lot of first round picks we’re trying to cover there. It usually takes a game or a part of a game to play well and get that back. Hopefully that happens this week. Every week is a new week. Every game is a new life. What you’ve done before never matters. Never has. Whether you’re Elijah Moore and leading the country in receptions, that has nothing to do with Saturday. Or whether you’ve given up a ton of yards, it’s all new. That’s why they play the games. That’s why people think games are going to be one way and they’re completely different. You have to show up. I look for us to play much better this week on defense.”

On tackling…
“We do tackling on Tuesdays and even part of our service period, which I don’t think many people do. We just have to continue to work on that. I think in general, we’re seeing defenses struggle around the country and especially in the SEC. I don’t know if that’s a product of missing spring ball and that’s more important for defense than offense. But I’ve heard a lot of defensive coaches saying they’re struggling and just read something about how many SEC teams are in the bottom half of defensive rankings. Usually, the SEC is extremely hard to move the ball, especially to run the ball.”

On virtual recruiting…
“We’re just trying everything. We’re in a very difficult situation as a first-year staff. A lot of these kids we’re recruiting we’ve never met and may never meet them before they come. It’s hard. Usually they want to go to the established programs right now if they can’t visit anywhere because that’s what you do. Normally, kids come to programs that are building like us because of relationships. You went there, you loved the campus, you loved the staff, the head coach, position coach, whatever it is. We’re trying everything we can. I do feel the last three weeks since we’ve been playing, recruiting feedback has been a lot better than it was prior to that. I think kids are excited with the product that they see. The energy we play with, the way our sidelines and our players play. I think they’re excited about that. On defense, they also see, ‘Hey, I can go there and help them win.’ And on offense, they see, ‘Hey, I can go there and have those type of numbers like Matt is or Elijah is or like the two backs going over 120 against Alabama. I think there’s a lot of good things going on right now.”

On assessing Matt Corral’s play…
“I don’t want to rat poison the guy but A-plus. He’s made so many plays, bailed us out of different things. I don’t know, he was No. 1 last week, but Mac’s probably No. 1 now, but I’m sure they’re still one and two in the country in quarterback efficiency. He’s played lights-out, which is difficult. I don’t know many people would’ve expected that having no spring and in a quarterback competition. It’s not like he’s an established starter in the third year of a system. This is all new for him.”

On the recruiting dead period being lifted…
“I hope so, but I haven’t heard anything about it being lifted. I think it’s still December 1.”

On kicking field goals late vs. Alabama…
“It was painful to kick. I can’t remember what it was, but it was too long (to go for it). The way the game was going, once we got to the fourth quarter, I said, ‘Guys, we’re in four-down. If we’re going to have 4th-and-2 on our minus-25, we’re going for it.’ Just the way the game was going, we couldn’t have a possession with zero points. Obviously we didn’t want to (kick), but the snap led us into that. It was great for him to make those. The next one wasn’t as big of a deal because we need two scores anyway. Really great job by him on rough conditions.”

On him being a candidate for the Arkansas job…
“We did (have conversations with Arkansas). I’m not going to get into complete detail about that. I knew the athletic director from interviewing with him at Houston, so I knew him before. I think he does a great job, great guy to work for. I think they have some really good young players that you’re seeing, kind of like us on offense as well. They’re doing a great job. They very easily could’ve won last week against an established program like Auburn. Sam (Pittman) is doing an awesome job. Their defense, for a defense that was really bad last year statistically, is doing a great job.”

On Feleipe Franks…
“They go fast. There are similarities in that. He’s done a really good job coming over there, which is tough because he had no spring ball as well. They’re doing a really good job.”

On if he anticipates having Jacquez Jones back this weekend…
“I hope so. We missed him. He’d rotate in there. MoMo Sanogo did a really good job starting. Those guys rotate and play special teams. I think they play better when both guys are there.”
(Video and transcript courtesy of Ole Miss Athletics)

About The Author

Evelyn Van Pelt

Evelyn has covered sports for over two decades, beginning her journalism career as a sports writer for a newspaper in Austin, Texas. She attended Texas A&M and majored in English. Evelyn's love for Ole Miss began when her daughter Katie attended the university on a volleyball scholarship--and continued as she watched Katie receive three degrees from Ole Miss, culminating with her Pharm D. in 2012. Evelyn, a member of the FWAA, USBWA and the NCBWA, has covered Rebel sports for numerous outlets. In addition to working for The Rebel Walk, Evelyn is a sports writer for a newspaper in Texas.

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