Lane Kiffin encourages Ole Miss fans to be in The Vaught for home opener against Austin Peay
OXFORD, Miss. — In Ole Miss’ season-opening win over Louisville Monday, the Rebels clicked in all facets of the game – offense, defense and special teams. Now, Rebel fans get their opportunity to show out, too, by filling Vaught-Hemingway in Saturday’s upcoming 2021 home debut.
In Wednesday’s press conference, head coach Lane Kiffin encouraged all fans to be in attendance.
“I really hope our crowd comes out, I hope people don’t sit and say, ‘Well, we’ll just wait for an SEC game,’” Kiffin said.
“Having a crowd is impactful to our players and for their performance. It’s impactful for recruits when they come into the stadium.”
Lane Kiffin on fans coming to The Vaught
This is the first time since the 2019 season that Vaught-Hemingway Stadium will be available to full capacity, but it’s not just the crowd in the stands Rebel players are looking forward to experiencing.
“Definitely looking forward to the Walk of Champions. Haven’t done that — feel like in forever. Being back in that environment, our home, wouldn’t want anything more.”
Ole Miss QB Matt Corral
The Walk of Champions will also be the initial one for Coach Kiffin since the tradition was suspended last season due to COVID-19.
“I’m excited for the first walk that we’ve had through the Grove,” Kiffin said. “First time actually setting foot into the Grove, so I’m personally excited about that.”
Yet an Ole Miss gameday is more than that.
Sure, it is the Grove, but it is a young alumnus bringing their kids to campus for the first time. It is the view from the balcony at The Inn at Ole Miss. It is mingling in The Square in the afternoon before an evening kickoff. It is hearing the band strike up the fight song. It is the anticipation of which celebrity will deliver “Are you ready?” on the video board.
Then there is the sheer explosion of the crowd seeing the Rebels touch the Chucky Mullins bust and head out on to the field.
That spark gives the players an adrenaline rush that transfers onto the field.
Last week, Ole Miss had to provide its own boost without its home crowd; although, the stands were filled with far more Rebels than Cardinals. The Rebels succeeded in motivating themselves as they rolled to a 26-0 halftime lead on their way to a 43-24 win.
The victory was rewarded by the pollsters this week as Ole Miss checked in at number 20 in both the Associated Press and the Coaches’ polls.
Getting in the polls is one thing, remaining there is another. Kiffin believes a packed stadium is a key to doing that.
“We need people to come out (to the game). Everyone wants a Top 25 program; well let’s put an atmosphere together like a Top 25 program so players feel that, and recruits see that as well.”
Coach Lane Kiffin
Kickoff between Ole Miss and the Governors is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.
(Feature image credit: Josh McCoy, Ole Miss)