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Everything Coach Kiffin said at Monday’s weekly Ole Miss football press conference

Everything Coach Kiffin said at Monday’s weekly Ole Miss football press conference

OXFORD, Miss.Head coach Lane Kiffin met with the media Monday for his weekly press conference to recap the Rebels’ 59-42 victory over South Carolina. A transcript can be found below. (Courtesy of Ole Miss Media Relations)

Opening statement…
“Back to the game, exciting game. Fun for our fans. One of our goals is to play so when people watch us, they say, ‘I want to go there’. So, having excitement on the sidelines and tempo offense and jerseys and everything. I think that was accomplished and went really well. We played about as bad as you can possibly on defense, through whatever three quarters. Last three drives a punt and two fourth down stops were huge. That is one bright spot on that side. Elijah played great; I can’t remember what it was, but I think he had 14 touches at halftime already. Got the ball the first four plays of the game. Crazy to think for a guy that basically doesn’t have any reps back there, except for what we put in this week with the bye, he looked like an elite running back, which is really unusual. Pretty neat, he’s going to make a lot of money here next year.”

On the job that Randy Clements has done with the offensive line…
“This is probably going to surprise you with those on the stats, but the tackles played really well. The three inside guys did not play well, especially in the run game. Did alright in the pass game. Sometimes numbers can be skewed a little bit based off of other guys making plays, but our grades were not great inside, but the tackles were really good.”

On the development of the offensive line…
“I think we’re really good in pass protection for the most part. We’re up and down on the run game. A lot of those guys played last year, and they ran the ball well, led the SEC in rushing a year ago. We’re doing some good things, but we can improve there. We’re trying to develop (depth). We’d like to rotate a little bit, but we’re just not there yet.”

On Saturday’s game being postponed…
“It looks like we’re not going to play. There’s still a small possibility that someone could be moved up if they don’t have an opponent. We’re still figuring that out, exactly how we’ll do the schedule. We have figured out because of the COVID we’re going to keep them here through the weekend. We’re still looking at (the practice schedule), don’t know exactly what we’ll do.”

On when he found out the game would be postponed…
“They told us last week that it was probably going to happen, just because they weren’t going to get guys back with the 14-day contact tracing. I didn’t really think much of it because we were just focused on the game. It is what it is.”

On how many players have tested positive since June…
“I don’t know that number, so I don’t really want to guess. I’ll get it for you by next time we get on here.”

On the team’s progress from Florida to now…
“A lot of the similarities from that game are still around. Very productive on offense, really good in the passing game. Elite quarterback and elite receiver. Really good tight end and we run the ball at times well and we don’t play very good on defense. We’re really kind of where we started off. We’ve made some progress, I thought on defense, but that was painful to watch. I don’t even see all the plays during the game because I am over there with the offense sometimes. But 8.2 yards a carry, that’s like little league stats man. This is the SEC, that should never happen.”

On Elijah as a route runner…
“Elijah’s quickness is different. He’s smaller than those guys, smaller than Ridley too. We’ve just never had anybody this quick, he’s really a slot. All those guys are more prototypical outside receivers. This is a true slot. Like I said, he looks like the Carolina Steve Smith. Has the ability to get in and out of breaks. Watching the tape, he ran the ball so well. I think when someone drafts him, they got to look at using him back there a few times a game too because that’s very hard to prepare for. You have no idea what formation they’re going to be in and all of a sudden you have match things up and the guy’s in the backfield. It’s not like we’re subbing him out for a running back, so you know where he’s at. The running back is still in the game. That’s very hard to deal with.”

On expecting to play LSU on the 5th…
“I guess we’ll know by 6:00 or something. You guys know the rule, if someone else can’t play, if their opponent can’t play and we can play and they can play, we can move it up. I guess that’s a possibility we’ll know here more soon.”

On playing someone not on the schedule…
“No. I don’t think there’s any way the SEC would. That was the whole thing of being able to control it and not having non-conference. I don’t think they’d let that happen.”

On Matt Corral
“If you could take out the one game somehow and if we played better defense where when we were winning, we’d be talking about a guy in the Heisman race. He actually has more total yards per game than anyone in the conference including Trask. That’s pretty impressive, and just a sophomore. He made some plays that have some Mahomes-type of arm angles in the game, which we don’t teach that. That’s just, very few humans can do that. Here’s a good one for you I learned yesterday talking to his parents. He played defensive end when he was young. I can’t really see that but, they said he was a defensive end and I think that toughened him up. He didn’t want to play quarterback they said.”

On making new defensive adjustments…
“We’ve talked about it already. You’ve got to look at everything. You’ve got to look at, do we do too much? Because it’s not just guys missing tackles. We weren’t aligned at times, which is really bad. (South Carolina’s) a pretty easy team to line up to. They’re in I-right and trading the tight end what we did like 25 years ago. That part was very discouraging, so we are looking at everything.”

On giving Moore more carries…
“Just, the guy’s so special. Like I’ve always said, you’ve got a great player in basketball, you keep throwing him the ball and letting him shoot. So, I’ve just always thought with receivers, guys are underused. We got to Alabama and I think the record was 70 catches, Julio Jones. Julio Jones only touched the ball 70 times—let’s think about that. Not being critical, I just always think that, if you have a great running back, he gets the ball 25 times in a game. So, find a way to get the guy the ball. And he’s really smart. I was worried about his mileage in the game having to play all those spots that he did. So, he actually didn’t practice on Wednesday. Just had to make sure he had enough legs to do all this stuff.”

On Corral’s potential growth this offseason in this system…
“That does create a high ceiling for him. He didn’t have spring with us either. First off, hopefully he comes back so we get a chance to do that because would be draft eligible. It’s crazy to think that he can get better.”

On the pushed back recruiting dead period…
You know, we can’t control it. It is what it is. Very difficult. Very challenging. Like I said to you guys—you’re running a company and you can’t interview your employees and see them face to face. So, just trying to do the best that we can.”

On if extra rest presents an advantage…
No, when you’re playing well you want to keep playing. Two game-winning streak, so I wish we were playing. So, we’ll keep utilizing the time to find different things, just like we did with Elijah, and see if we can get better.”

On excitement of the clipboard toss touchdown…
“Everyone keeps saying clipboard. That’s kinda like really old. You don’t have clipboards, well I guess Gus (Malzahn) does. Most of us don’t have clipboards. Kind of like the P.E. teacher in high school. They’re call sheets. Michael Nysewander does it and he puts cardstock inside so usually you can’t throw them that far, but that thing really travelled. It was a little like harder than normal. I’ve probably done that, but it’s never gone into the stands, that’s for sure. But, I just get excited, like I said after the game, when plays work, and there are schematic plays, especially if you’re audibling at the time, and you get them in a matchup that your audibling for a reason. And then, the players make the plays. I was nervous in that game. A lot of that’s relief energy coming out. We’re not stopping them at all. Which, if you can’t stop the run, the games are scary. So, I did not like how the game was going in the third quarter. Then, we hit those couple plays and opening it up was huge.”

Here’s the video of Coach Kiffin’s Monday press conference:

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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