Kiffin talks frustration from Alabama loss, looks ahead to Arkansas
OXFORD, Miss. – There are only so many chances teams get to beat Nick Saban and Alabama, and Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin was visibly frustrated after the Rebels’ 30-24 loss to the Crimson Tide on Saturday.
After reviewing the game film, Kiffin on Monday said he understands just how important that game was to win.
“I was just frustrated for our players,” Kiffin said at his weekly press conference.
“To be that close, to have the ball in your hands against Alabama…is a rare thing. It doesn’t happen very often, so that’s why there was a lot of frustration.”
Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin
The Rebels possessed the ball late in the fourth quarter down six with a chance to score and take the lead. This last offensive drive stalled in the red zone with under a minute to play, ending the game.
“That’s frustrating as you watch the film and see all the missed opportunities,” Kiffin said. “We had a chance to finish the game, and we didn’t do it.”
Kiffin did have some praise for Alabama, especially for quarterback and reigning Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young for his performance in leading the Tide to victory.
‘[I] commend Bryce [Young] especially. He put his superman cape on and made some unbelievable plays in that game. That’s why he is the Heisman Trophy winner.”
Coach Kiffin on Bryce Young
While the emotions of a game of that caliber last week can linger, Kiffin stressed that his team must move on to Arkansas this week, which will prove to be a tough task on the road.
“Arkansas is a very talented team that outplayed LSU Saturday,” Kiffin said.
“They really had a bunch of chances with backup quarterbacks to beat LSU. That tells you a lot about how well they play at times. [Fayetteville] is a difficult place to play in at night.”
Lane Kiffin on playing Arkansas
Arkansas lost to LSU, 13-10, without starting quarterback KJ Jefferson in a game played before Alabama and Ole Miss squared off on Saturday afternoon. The Razorback loss and Tiger win, coupled with the Rebels’ loss, locked up the SEC West for LSU.
Even though Arkansas sits at 5-5 for the year, including 2-4 in the conference, and is coming off back-to-back losses to Liberty and LSU, Kiffin understands the importance, based off last year’s 52-51 thriller with the Rebels, of Saturday’s game against the Razorbacks and focusing on just that — not Arkansas’s prior outcomes.
“Every game is independent of a different game,” Kiffin said. “That [LSU game] shows you that every week is different, and every game is different.”
The 52-51 victory for the Rebels over Arkansas last year shows how far each team has come since then, especially the Rebel defense. The defense will have to show its improvements from last year with KJ Jefferson likely returning to face the Rebels.
“It sounds like KJ will be back just from what they’ve said,” Kiffin said. “I think [head coach] Sam [Pittman] has been pretty open that they expect him back.”
Jefferson threw for 326 yards and three touchdowns while also running for 85 yards and three touchdowns against the Rebels during the 2021 season. Stopping him will be a huge factor for the success of the Rebel defense.
The Rebels (8-2, 4-2 SEC) will look to bounce back on the road in Fayetteville this Saturday in primetime against the Arkansas Razorbacks. Kickoff is set for 6:30pm on SEC Network.
(Feature image credit: Josh McCoy, Ole Miss)
Trevor is a senior at Ole Miss pursuing a degree in Journalism with an emphasis in Sports Communication and Promotion. He has previous experience covering sports for another site, including a variety of Ole Miss sports. Growing up in New Orleans, La., he has the Pelicans and Saints running through his blood. He also grew up in an LSU family, but his love for Ole Miss continues to grow. Trevor hopes to cover sports back in his hometown after college. Laissez les bons temps rouler!