Nick’s Notes: Rebels shifting from fall camp to preparations for opening game vs. Louisville
OXFORD, Miss. — Media was able to attend a portion of Thursday’s practice as well as the press conference afterward where head coach Lane Kiffin, receiver John Rhys Plumlee and defensive lineman K.D. Hill spoke. Here are our notes from the day’s activities.
The team will have a mock game Sunday night to simulate game day and the the preparations that go along with that.
Following Thursday’s practice, Coach Kiffin indicated there will now be somewhat of a shift away from camp mode — and its accompanying intense physical demand — to a more focused preparation for the season opener against Louisville.
“We’re continuing the process of getting closer,” Kiffin said.
“We’re trying to simulate the best we can, get our guys used to how we prepare for that. I’m also in the process over the next four days, get out of camp legs, be very mental but be very limited physically. We’re beat up like always around this time.“
In today’s press conference, a former Ole Miss football player in attendance thanked Coach Kiffin on his coaching style, one that encompasses helping players grow into men.
Kiffin said he didn’t always have the same philosophy. “I think that changed over the years,” he noted.
“When I was younger and got into coaching, initially head coach, it was like: ‘Hey, my job is not to be your other dad or uncle. I’m here to get you to the NFL and get you paid the most money on draft day and prepare you to play really well and teach you to do that,’” Kiffin began.
“It’s been documented, and I’ve said before, going to FAU and being with so many kids that aren’t going to the NFL, you get a different perspective. I’m not saying everybody changes with age, but I think that’s part of it. I just look at it differently now. Some of these kids are just lost. I meet with our speakers (who talk to the team) afterwards, and talk to them about things. One made a point and said, ‘Just remember, you’ve got a lot of kids that have no fathers on your team and their default is their coach.’”
This is great to hear from a head coach and absolutely will help Coach Kiffin in recruiting and in building a positive culture around his team.
John Rhys Plumlee
Media also got to hear from wide receiver John Rhys Plumlee Thursday. Plumlee, who was moved to wide receiver before last season’s Outback Bowl to help fill a void left by injuries and opt-outs, spoke on his transition to receiver.
“I think the Indiana game really helped me out. Just having a week of it under my belt. I’ve done a lot of learning, about little things, that I necessarily didn’t know about the receiver position and it’s helped me,” Plumlee explained, about the bit of time he spent at the end of last season working out at the slot.
Throughout fall camp, Plumlee has spent time in both the receiver and the quarterback rooms to help him have a mental edge on the field.
He was asked if being a former quarterback aids in the switch to receiver.
“I feel it is an advantage because I understand the concepts to a deeper level, almost knowing when the ball isn’t supposed to come to me and when it is supposed to come to me.“
John Rhys Plumlee
Look for Plumlee to play a big role in the passing game this season.
Defensive tackle K.D. Hill also spoke to the media Thursday. He was asked how his fall camp has gone thus far.
“Just taking it one day at a time, getting better, working on small things and making sure I get one percent better each day,” he said.
Depth on the defensive line is definitely one area Ole Miss has been moving toward.
“We are going to have a lot of breaks and have a lot of people rotating and that will help us stay fresh throughout the season and dominate every single game.“
K.D. Hill on D-line depth
Hill was asked how eager he is to get back on the field after the defense’s struggles last season. “We actually have a chip on our shoulder this year and every single game we want to dominate,” he said.
We’ll be back out at practice on Saturday, so watch for more “Nick’s Notes” then!
(Feature images: Josh McCoy, Ole Miss; graphic: Nick Filipich, Rebel Walk)