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Here’s What Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin said at his Monday press conference

Here’s What Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin said at his Monday press conference

OXFORD, Miss. — Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin met with media after practice Monday. He discussed the loss to Auburn and looked ahead to the upcoming game against Liberty.

Here’s what all Coach Kiffin had to say.

Opening Statement…

“We’ve moved on from the game but have to recap with you guys. It was a disappointing outcome to the game. We did not feel that, for whatever reason, we didn’t feel like we had great energy, which has not been an issue here. We haven’t played well at times over the two seasons, but I don’t know why that was. But that’s also kind of one-sided, because we did have good energy in the first quarter on defense, and maybe that’s a product of having some very valuable offensive players not playing and having guys in that haven’t been playing much. We had a lot of opportunities in the game, our defense played well, we did not play well on offense in critical situations, and kind of like the Alabama game we lost the two games where we struggled on our fourth down conversions, so those are a big deal. When you make them, they keep drives alive. When you don’t make them, you don’t end up with any points. We research everything that we do, and I would say that the book was right in the middle on whether to kick when it’s eight, so obviously we didn’t make the fourth down so I would kick if we could redo it. That’s how it goes. It just kind of felt, we had struggled on offense, that it was going to take a lot to make the field goal, get a stop, get the ball and then go all the way down and we’d still have needed to score a touchdown. It’s not like it’s truly a one possession game when you go into a field goal in a six-point game. It is what it is.”

On Matt Corral’s ankle and if he’ll be practicing this week…

“Yeah he did not do anything today. I was surprised he came back because it looked like it was really bad, obviously when it happened it looked season-ending, broken. That’s how he felt it was. Luckily it wasn’t so he was able to come back in. He’s been very hard on himself over the past day and a half, that first down interception was just totally unlike him this season, it’s something maybe a year ago he would’ve done. Makes a great play to get away from the guy, then he’s done it all year where he’s got five yards and he runs it out of bounds and it’s second and five. Instead he forces the ball across his body, and he’s not done anything like that this year, so it just shows you that everyone’s human. It doesn’t matter who you are, how good you are, your position or whatever. When you try to force things and get out of doing what the plan is, that can happen. I think everyone knows why that happened. He felt like he had to create something, we weren’t making a lot of plays around him, and he’s at that point where he’s playing without basically five starters on offense, and he’s just trying too hard. He’s very competitive and that can backfire.”

On how they monitored Dontario Drummond and Braylon Sanders this past weekend…

“Well Drummond’s was a new injury that happened and he was unable to return. We actually put him back in for a trick play where he didn’t have to do anything. I don’t think he could have hurt himself worse. With Braylon, he tried to go and just watching him and talking to him where he’s like well I can go if I can cut off this leg, but I can’t cut off this leg, and I’m like well we’re not doing that. So that’s why he basically didn’t play. It’s a very difficult position for us on the road against very good players on defense when we have guys out. Some guys stepped up and made some plays.”

On his thoughts on Liberty…

“With where we are injury-wise, we said hey have you ever experienced anything like this and I said not on one side of the ball. For whatever reason they’re just all on offense. And even some that are playing, like our quarterback, even some that are playing aren’t close to 100 percent. So yeah, I would like this to be some opponent that you had never heard of before that didn’t have a first round draft pick quarterback, that would be nice, but it’s basically like having another SEC game. It is what it is. We’re excited to come back home, we need the environment to be like it was last time for our players and for our recruits. I don’t know whatever we’re ranked but we’re still ranked, so you’ve still got a ranked team to come cheer and hopefully watch Matt play again.”

On if he thinks there are any young wide receivers that will have to step up down the stretch…

“Well we’ve tried. We’ve tried and we’re seeing at practice that there’s been a lack of consistency but there’s some talent there, but if you don’t know what to do and you can’t do things consistently then it makes it very hard on your quarterback, especially on a road game when you have to line people up and you have people running all around. We’ll keep pushing along, but if we were playing today we’d be in the worst position that we’ve been in yet now that none of our three receivers are available.”

On his relationship with Hugh Freeze

“I know Hugh a little bit from Chris, my younger brother, working here. He’s always been good with Chris. I talked to him before like when we hired Corey Batoon. I was in a restaurant in town and he came by and sat down for a little bit. I know him a little bit, I have a great respect for him because I was on the other side when he beat us twice and he’s done a great job at wherever he’s been. He has a very unique offense that is always giving people problems.”

On what his impressions of Hugh Freeze‘s teams when he faced him at Alabama…

“I was just always amazed by how well they played on gameday. Just kind of the fresh theory, knowing their practice plans versus our’s at Alabama, the difference in the ways the programs were run. His players, he had them fresh and ready to go on gameday. For them to lose only two regular season games and for them to only lose three regular season games since I’ve been here at Ole Miss, he just does a great job at getting them ready to go on gameday.”

On Jerrion Ealy’s lack of consistency this season on offense…

“That was a health thing prior to this week. He’s been out, and this was not by design, and when you play tempo and you get into a game, especially when we run RPOs and these guys run cover three all the time which means there’s another person to watch, so we work on RPOs and you have to throw them. That’s why we were so out of balance with the pass-run, because otherwise you just hand them an extra guy. You may get in there and there are series where the ball doesn’t get handed to you, so that was not by design for the carries to be so out of balance to him, especially with such a great kid he is in this generation nowadays where people want to complain and go on Twitter and get attention from everybody because they feel bad for themselves. It was awesome when we met with him, I said hey, just wanted to make sure you knew that wasn’t by design. You played great the week before, and he just said hey, stuff happens let’s just go and win the next game. Speaks a lot for him. It’s refreshing.”

On his message to fans who may question the amount of fourth down attempts against SEC opponents…

“It’s what we do. When it works, they’ll say fans like it. Coming into the game we had more fourth down conversions than anyone in the country, and we had one of the top five percentages of anyone in the country. So sometimes they don’t work. When you understand analytics and you understand that hey, you can miss the field goal too, so it’s not like you can say that you had three points guaranteed. Same if you get a punt blocked or punt returned. It’s not as easy as you going, okay well you kick you get the points or you punt you automatically stop them. There’s a lot that goes into it.”

On who Malik Willis reminds him of…

“I don’t know that, and in all honesty I really haven’t studied him that much. I watch to see personnel and how they really play, so I haven’t watched him in depth. I get reports from our guys from the other side on how hard he is to defend, and I know that NFL scouts love him. I think someone walked in and said there’s going to be 22 NFL teams here for the game including some general managers, so it speaks volumes about these two quarterbacks.”

Evelyn Van Pelt
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. Evelyn created the Rebel Walk in 2013 and has served as publisher and managing editor since its inception.

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. Evelyn created the Rebel Walk in 2013 and has served as publisher and managing editor since its inception.

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