Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin putting his players in position to fulfill pro dreams
OXFORD, Miss. — While all college coaches look to put their players in a position that will help their teams win games, they’re not always able to position their athletes for a chance to fulfill their individual pro dreams.
Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin is finding ways to do both.
Nick Broeker moves to guard
One such case is found in Ole Miss senior Nick Broeker who has moved this spring from left tackle to left guard — the place on the offensive line many believe he is more suited for in the NFL.
“When I was thinking about entering the draft or staying last year, a lot of my feedback was at the next level, a lot of talk about guard and everything,” Broeker said Thursday after practice.
“We do what’s in the best interest for the players on these (decisions),” Kiffin said earlier this week. “Kind of like the Ben Brown situation, and when we look at what’s probably their future in the NFL, (we) usually move them there,” Kiffin explained.
Brown started all 10 games at center for the Rebels in 2020 but moved back to guard last season as it is where he is projected to play in the pros.
“That’s a little bit unique for coaches by the way. Especially when it’s with decisions of whether to come back or not. To come back and then force a guy to play a position they are not going to play at the next level is not in the best interest for them. Because then they gotta do what always happens, and they gotta go do workouts and play different spots and say ‘oh we can play this spot’, but we didn’t. So, I think this (move to left guard from left tackle) is best for him (Broeker).”
Coach Kiffin on putting players in the best spot for their future
When former Rebels’ receiver Elijah Moore — now a member of the New York Jets — played for Ole Miss, Coach Kiffin showcased the speedy Moore’s versatility, making sure NFL teams knew the many different ways Moore could contribute to their teams.
“We actually played him outside at times, even though, obviously, his natural position would be inside,” Kiffin said after Moore’s pro day workouts in 2021.
Before being drafted, Moore noted the impact Coach Kiffin had on his future.
“Every year, I felt like I showed something different that I didn’t have on my film and it couldn’t have been a better situation with having Kiffin, who allowed me to play multiple spots all around the field and just to show that diversity in me because wherever somebody puts me, I’m going to execute.”
Former Ole Miss receiver Elijah Moore
Before Coach Kiffin’s arrival at Ole Miss, Moore had played 603 snaps in the slot and just eight out wide in his first two collegiate seasons combined, according to ProFootballFocus.com. In his final season, Moore logged 269 snaps in the slot and 53 out wide, per PFF.
A coach doing what is best for his players to succeed in college and improve their games enough to move to the next level is a coach for whom any athlete would want to play.
Perhaps that’s why so many players are considering a trip to the ‘Sip!
Pro Day and Spring Practices
Seventeen former Ole Miss players participated in Pro Day at Ole Miss Wednesday. Click here for a report on how the Rebels performed.
Spring drills continue through April 22, culminating in the annual Grove Bowl April 23.
Steve Barnes joins The Rebel Walk staff as a senior writer and brings a trifecta of journalistic experience. As a writer, he has covered college sports for Rivals.com, Football.com and SaturdayDownSouth.com as well as served as a beat writer for various traditional newspapers.
He has been a broadcaster for arena football and several national tournament events for the National Junior College Athletic Association as well as hosting various shows on radio.
A former sports information director at Albany (Ga.) State University and an assistant at Troy and West Florida, he has helped host many NCAA conference, regional and national events, including serving five years on the media committee of the NCAA Division II World Series.
Barnes, a native of Pensacola, Fla., attended Ole Miss in 1983-84, where his first journalism teacher was David Kellum. The duo has come a long way since that time.
He will bring a proven journalistic track record, along with a knack for finding the out-of-the-ordinary story angles to The Rebel Walk.
Barnes continues to reside in Pensacola a mere ten minutes from the beach because he does have taste and a brain.