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Coach Kiffin gives update on Rebels’ COVID-19 status, practice suspension

Coach Kiffin gives update on Rebels’ COVID-19 status, practice suspension

OXFORD, Miss. — Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin offered an update on the Rebels and their COVID-19 situation Wednesday afternoon. This is the first time Coach Kiffin has talked with media since last week when the team announced a shut down of all activities due to the number of positive tests for the virus.

In a bit of good news, Coach Kiffin said the team had no new positive test results Wednesday. However, as of now, all team activities are still suspended.

“We worked together with the state…and really following their guidelines and recommendations when we got shut down, so not being able to do anything with our guys, we do not know when we will return from that,” Kiffin said in a teleconference with media.

We did have our first no negatives (positives) on the last test, so that’s a big part of getting back. I think that we need…it sounds like a couple of days of that in a row for us to resume. Hopefully, that happens.

Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin

As per his policy, Coach Kiffin did not give the actual number of positives for COVID-19 or the number of people in quarantine for close-contact tracing. “Yeah, we’ve never given numbers on the subject. We’re not going to start now,” he explained.

Kiffin said the postponement/cancellation of the game with A&M last Saturday was largely a result of the limited time to prepare and assure player safety.

“Just they shut us down because we had too many, so it really didn’t even get to the point of counting the numbers for the thresholds,” Kiffin noted. “It really came more to player safety,” Kiffin continued.

When they said they were going to shut us down for four or five days, whatever it was, we started looking at there’s no possible player-safety way we could play (vs. Texas A&M). And we were going to be shut down until like Thursday or something, so that means we wouldn’t have practiced for like basically a week. And then go out and have best scenario one practice, which we don’t even practice on Thursdays before a game…and then play a game. From a player-safety standpoint, that was impossible.

Coach Kiffin

Next up, the Rebels have a date with LSU on December 19 in Baton Rouge. Coach Kiffin was asked when the Rebels would know if that game indeed will be played.

“I don’t know that exactly. I think, usually, they want to announce things by Monday…But I think, also, teams have been shut down later, because they get a bunch of stuff later in the week. I don’t know that exactly. Hopefully…we get two more rounds of negative testing and potentially we could be practicing Friday or something,” he said.

“Ideally, you’d like to at least be practicing Monday, so you could have a normal week. Hopefully, you can practice maybe Friday, Saturday and give them a day off and get back to a normal week Monday or Tuesday.”

Kiffin was asked about the difficulty for players of staying focused with unexpected delays.

“Yeah, for sure. You can’t even work with the kids. It’s hard to kind of keep them motivated…This just never happens. What have we played, like two games in five weeks? It’s really bizarre. I don’t like this, obviously. You want to stay in rhythm, especially when we’re playing well. You never want a lot of time off, especially when we struggle to tackle anyway,” Kiffin quipped.

We will keep you posted on when team activities resume.

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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