Monday, September 28, 2020

Kiffin Improvises ‘Practice’ During SEC Shutdown

By Adam Brown
Sports Editor

Ole Miss head football coach Lane Kiffin talked with members of the local media Tuesday about how implications of the coronavirus could bring about changes during the early stages of what will be the 2020 football season.

In Kiffin’s first season in Oxford, the nation was hit with the coronavirus pandemic that forced shut downs, including spring practice.

Coming into the 2020 season, Kiffin and his staff are having to evaluate players through video with no spring practice.

“I am still hoping for some type of spring practice,” Kiffin said. “Some type of spring ball and spring practices at some point. Players change from November our October. You can watch game film and players get fresh starts and change.”

At this time players are watching film on iPads to help them learn plays, but they are limited by what they can do physically, per the SEC.

“As of now we are limited to what we can do,” Kiffin said. “They can look at playbooks and iPads that have stuff on them but at some point we will be able to do group meetings with them (like having meetings before practice with position coaches).”

Even if players are in town, they are not allowed to conduct workouts, according to Kiffin.

Kiffin has not heard yet if the SEC and Commissioner Greg Sankey are going to allow for additional practices once the pandemic ends.

“This is an assumption that they will get rid of spring recruiting to allow for spring practice,” he said. “More like the NFL model where it is more like OTA’s with less contact.”

“My thought is if we didn’t have it (spring practice) at all it would be really difficult for first-year coaching staffs and programs,” Kiffin said.

In the spring, it is a major component for first-year coaching staff and programs to work installing an offense and a defense. Kiffin said spring practices don’t just include workouts and plays, they include getting to know the players.

“It’s a million things,” Kiffin said. From implementation to getting to know your players. One of the big things in coaching is getting to know your players and knowing how to coach them. Until you get on the field with them, you don’t really understand that and can’t be done in a classroom.”

Right now, Kiffin said the coaches can text and call the players but can’t have any coaching communication. A lot of that communication entails how the athletes are doing with schoolwork.

“Academically, we make sure they are doing well,” Kiffin said.