Tuesday, October 27, 2020

It’s Game Time: Rebels Gear Up to Host No. 5 Gators

By Adam Brown
Sports Editor
adam.brown@hottytoddy.com

It’s officially game week for the Ole Miss Rebels as they prepare to “lock the Vaught” on Saturday against the No. 5 Florida Gators.

Members of the media got a chance to catch up with Head Coach Lane Kiffin on Monday ahead of his Ole Miss coaching debut later this week.

“A lot of people put in a lot of effort for this to happen,” Kiffin said. “From the commissioner, athletics directors, presidents and chancellors, just to get it okayed, to the medical people and everything around here helping to get to this point. So I am very grateful for that.”

For the second week in a row, the football team has been COVID-19 free when tested according to Kiffin. 

“We have been very fortunate here cause these last two (weeks) would put you out for the opener,” he said. “Nobody is left in quarantine.”

Kiffin and his staff have a completed roster without anyone being down from illness and injury.

“A lot of guys are right here on the border from hamstring type injuries and things,” Kiffin said. “We were really down at some positions, especially receiver and offensive line. Got to get these guys back.” 

Outside of injuries heading into the opener in less than a week, Ole Miss is still waiting to hear if junior defensive back Otis Reese and senior defensive back Deane Leonard will be eligible to be a part of the Landshark defense.

“Unfortunately, we still do not have an answer,” Kiffin said. “It kind of makes it difficult because of trying to plan and figure out with the same as Leonard. Here are two guys that would potentially be starters for us that we don’t know what they are doing with only two practices left.”

The Rebels will need speed in all phases of the game in order to take on the No. 5 Gators.

“Team speed, they are always fast and always have been, especially at skill,” Kiffin said. “People aren’t scoring a lot of points against these guys last year, held a lot of people down to around 20 or 24 points. It is a big challenge there. In our first game with no spring practice, there will be challenges as well.”

The Rebels and the Gators plan to do a demonstration as a symbol of unity on Saturday.

“We have an idea of what we are going to do,” Kiffin said. 

Ole Miss and Florida will kickoff at 11 a.m. Saturday on ESPN.