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Everything Coach Kiffin said Monday as Rebels prepare for Egg Bowl

Everything Coach Kiffin said Monday as Rebels prepare for Egg Bowl

OXFORD, Miss. – Ole Miss football head coach Lane Kiffin met with the media Monday via Zoom to preview this Saturday’s Battle for the Golden Egg against in-state rival Mississippi State (3 p.m. CT, SEC Network). 

Here’s the video of what Coach Kiffin had to say, as well as a transcript of his comments (both courtesy of Ole Miss Media Relations).

Opening statement…
“These guys played really good the other night, as you saw. Had a chance to beat Georgia and probably would have if Georgia didn’t have the new quarterback. These guys have played really well on defense for most of the season. They give you a lot of problems, play really hard, really good players. They got back on track offensively against a really good Georgia defense. So we’re going to have our hands full. They kind of got it turned around. They looked like they weren’t playing great the few games before that, especially offensively. They got it turned around and beat some drop-eight, which I think had been their issue lately. Even without all of that, it wouldn’t have mattered, because rivalry games, you never know what’s going to happen.”

On what he knew about the Egg Bowl before coming to Ole Miss…
“I had known about it, just from watching. It used to be on Thanksgiving a lot. Then my brother being here for a number of years. Knew it was always really competitive and a big deal around here. It’s a big deal.”

On how much he expects Otis Reese to play Saturday…
“I think a lot. Even though he sat out, he still practices all the time. He’s in great shape. He’s a great practice player. He was always preparing like he was playing. I would anticipate him playing a lot.”

On how he managed Reese’s reps in practice…
“Once they said he had lost whatever it was, we couldn’t afford to use those reps. He’s been down on service team. He actually started this week playing receiver on service to help us there because we were down numbers, until we found out.”

On if having last week off will hurt or help going into this weekend…
“I would rather not have it when you’re in rhythm and playing well and won a couple of games in a row. It is what it is. Hopefully we used it to get better at some things. It’s a blessing with Otis being able to play. Had we played (last week) he wouldn’t have been able to play, so that was good.”

On Elijah Moore
“He’s a great player, first off. He prepares really well. Very smart player. A lot of players wouldn’t be able to line up outside, inside and in the backfield all in the first series of the game. He’s a true professional.”

On his conversations with Moore about last year’s Egg Bowl…
“That was a long time ago. I talked to him about it when I first got here and learning and moving forward. I don’t think there was any need to. That was a long time ago. A lot of catches ago.”

On if he has heard anything on MSU’s COVID status…
“We have not heard anything. Fortunately, our guys did a good job. Over the weekend, even though we didn’t play, we kept them around. Yesterday we were 100 percent, so hopefully we keep that up.”

On the Thanksgiving holiday…
“We’re a morning format practice, so we don’t change our schedule. When you’re in the afternoon, a lot of times you have to move it up. We just go like normal. They’ll stay here, except for kids who are really close. We have Thursday to work, then they’re back here Friday morning.”

On what MSU did differently vs. Georgia…
“They were patient. They checked the ball down a lot. Georgia copied everybody’s blueprint—drop eight and keep the ball in front of them. When you do that, they were thinking they’d screw it up or force the ball and have some turnovers, which they had at times this year. They played a really clean game with no turnovers.”

On when the Texas A&M game will be played…
“I have not heard anything. We’re just focused on this one. Whoever’s next will be next after that.”

On if he had to convince Elijah Moore to stay at Ole Miss…
“I don’t think so. I never heard anything about that. Before we were hired, talking to Keith Carter, there were a lot of kids saying they were leaving or whatever. I think everyone stayed actually.”

On rivalry games…
“When it’s in-state, it’s a big deal. People talk about it impacting recruiting, which it can. Two new coaches. This is a big game. So we need to play really well.”

On if MSU is better than its 2-5 record…
“I think it just depends on which game you watch. Just like the Georgia game, they could’ve won that game against a really good team on the road against a new quarterback. Had he not been eligible and medically cleared, they ran the ball for eight yards, so he made a big difference throwing for 400.”

On the MSU defense…
“Very unique scheme that gives you a lot of problems. Going back to San Diego State. They play really hard. Obviously they have players who play hard and coaches who are getting it out of them. They play extremely violent up front.”

On playing the Egg Bowl on Thanksgiving vs. Saturday…
“I don’t know. I think it’s the same for both teams. I probably really don’t have an opinion. I would guess the Thursday gets more recruits watching you because there are less games. I don’t know.”

On if he has talked to Mike Leach about the chippy nature of past Egg Bowls…
“I have not. We both have to manage our teams. We’ll talk a lot to our team as we get closer to the game about playing with great composure.”

About The Author

Evelyn Van Pelt

Evelyn has covered sports for over a decade, 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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