Lane Kiffin talks about facing Mississippi State in the Egg Bowl
OXFORD, Miss. – Ole Miss (9-2, 5-2 SEC) head coach Lane Kiffin met with the media on Monday after practice. The No. 12 Rebels are preparing to take on in-state rival Mississippi State on Thanksgiving in Starkville.
“Just continuing the preparation in a short week,” Kiffin said of the Thursday game. “Just trying to maximize the schedule that we are in.”
Kiffin added that the team, which does not have class this week due to Thanksgiving break, has been attentive to all the unique scheduling demands.
“We are pushing through,” Kiffin said.
Ole Miss is coming into the week off a 35-3 win over ULM that was played at 11 a.m. Last year the Saturday before the Egg Bowl, the Rebels had to face Arkansas on the road on a Saturday night before playing the Egg Bowl, making it a late return back to Oxford for the short week.
“I think a lot of things are different (this year),” Kiffin said Monday.
“One, we game-planned last week (for State) which is very unusual with another opponent (ULM) that week. Obviously, there’s a big difference in your body being done at that (morning) time. Our play count was much lower than playing an SEC game on the road. I would certainly hope they would never set that up again scheduling-wise, where one team’s playing an 11 a.m. non-conference game at home (as State was last year) and the other one’s playing at night on the road in the SEC. I think this schedule has been beneficial, I think our bodies will be a lot better.“
Coach Kiffin on the Egg Bowl scheduling this year vs. last
Last week, as Kiffin described, Ole Miss got a jump start on game prep for the Bulldogs.
“Yeah, we just got ahead by taking time last night to look at things as offense and defense and special teams to get ahead, knowing this was a short week,” Kiffin said.
This season, Mississippi State fired head coach Zach Arnett after the Bulldogs’ loss to Texas A&M. They named assistant Greg Knox interim for the remainder of the season. Kiffin was asked if it was difficult to game plan for a coach he had never seen.
“I don’t think so. When it’s a new interim head coach, you don’t know much about their style or what they do or how they manage a game,” Kiffin said. “Not having an interim, outside of a couple of games and not having a script, it’s not like you can study that, so it is what it is.”
Mississippi State quarterback Will Rogers has returned from injury and will be facing the Rebels for the fourth time. This season, Rogers has passed for 1,419 yards with 12 touchdowns and four interceptions.
“We know the player that he is and how he’s pulled out games before, thrown for huge numbers in-game. I think against South Carolina this year they threw the ball really well also. I’m sure him getting back and having a game under his belt last week probably will help him. We’re prepared to play a really good quarterback.”
Lane Kiffin on State QB Will Rogers
During Kiffin’s tenure at Ole Miss he has faced Mississippi State for the Egg Bowl three times and is going into his fourth. After being a part of other rivalry games like the Iron Bowl and others, how does he think it compares?
“I think unlike a normal rivalry game, learning the Thursday aspect of the scheduling (is different), and getting a good plan with that,” Kiffin said. “We haven’t been part of a lot of Thursday night games, a short week in college football. I think there’s some stuff to that to get used to. Again, last year’s schedule was so bizarre of playing so late on Saturday night on the road, so I think there’s some of that. I think, too, some things you have a different view of it when you lose it,” Kiffin explained.
“We had the trophy here for a couple of years and then lost it last year, so I hope that makes the players want it back more than just having it here the whole time.”
Lane Kiffin on the Egg Bowl Trophy
Ole Miss and Mississippi State will close out the 2023 regular season on Thanksgiving at 6:30 p.m. on ESPN.
Adam Brown joins The Rebel Walk as a Sports Editor after being on the Ole Miss beat for over 11 years. He is a lifelong Oxford resident. Brown graduated from the University of Mississippi with a bachelor’s degree in journalism.
Prior to The Rebel Walk, Brown was the sports editor of HottyToddy.com covering every Ole Miss sport and local high school sports in the community.