Rebels preparing to battle Razorbacks in frigid weather
OXFORD, Miss. – When any team goes on the road in the Southeastern Conference, that squad is ensured to receive a chilly reception.
But this could get ridiculous.
Ole Miss visits Arkansas Saturday evening and the low temperature is expected to be hovering around 20 degrees. It is apparent that Rebels’ coach Lane Kiffin is not a fan of the tundra.
“I think our players are good (with the cold weather), I’m the issue,” Kiffin said.
“I’ve tried everything, I was freezing (last Saturday), I even went and stood in the little bit of sun that was on (the end of the field away from the action) at one point during the game just trying anything (to stay warm). So I have cold weather issues but luckily I don’t think our players do because I didn’t see that at all out there and you do see some teams, especially receivers, shut down you know in that weather and I didn’t see any of that.”
Lane Kiffin on playing games in the cold
That might be a bit of an odd statement from a man who was born in Lincoln, Neb. and went to high school in Bloomington, Minn. Neither of those towns are known for their Caribbean weather.
Last week in Oxford, the game-time temperature was 39 degrees for an afternoon kickoff in a game Ole Miss dropped to Alabama, 30-24.
Last week in Fayetteville for a morning kickoff, it was 34 degrees as Arkansas gave LSU all it could handle. The Tigers ultimately escaped the frozen field with a 13-10 win.
Arkansas head coach Sam Pittman hopes Jack Frost visits Reynolds Razorback Stadium to slow down the Rebels’ fast-paced offense.
“It probably did (help slow down LSU’s offense) to be honest with you. And yeah, the colder the better and obviously we have to score points too, we have to run our offense too, but we’re rooting for us a freeze out if we can get it.”
Arkansas head coach Sam Pittman on the cold temps
One Rebel who does not seem to be concerned about the chilly temperature is defensive lineman Tavius Robinson. Of course, he is used to the frigid weather since he is a native of Canada.
“I find in the cold you don’t get as tired as quick as in the heat,” Robinson said.
“So you just got to get warmed up good, but then after that I don’t really think the cold affects most of us so, especially me.”
Ole Miss DL Tavius Robinson
Robinson’s fellow defender AJ Finley is from Mobile, Ala., but he uses a “put-it-out-of-your-mind” philosophy when it comes to the cold weather.
“I don’t really try to focus on the weather too much,” Finley said.
“I do look at it to see what I’m dealing with, but I don’t, it doesn’t affect me too much just trying to go out and play the same as I always do.”
Ole Miss safety AJ Finley
That might work for a player who does not touch the ball much, but Ole Miss wide receiver Jordan Watkins is calling from his experience playing at Louisville to try to combat the elements.
“I think playing the receiver spot, I think any cold weather is kind of going to affect you a little bit,” Watkins said.
“I know for me my hands kind of get a little bit numb, but you know you just got to make sure you keep them moving and keep your body moving and keep yourself warm.”
Ole Miss wide receiver Jordan Watkins
With both teams coming off a loss last weekend, each will try to get hot even though Mother Nature will be in charge of the weather.
Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. and the game can be seen on the SEC Network.
(Feature image credit: Josh McCoy, Ole Miss)
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.