Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Lane Kiffin Says COVID-19 Cases On Team Are “Becoming Very Challenging”

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

Ole Miss returns home to the friendly confines of the Vaught this weekend as they host the Auburn Tigers for homecoming.

The Rebels are facing challenges this week with players testing positive for COVID-19. In the 33-21 loss at Arkansas, Ole Miss was missing several players due to the virus. 

Head Coach Lane Kiffin met with the media on Monday to answer questions on how the team is handling the situation.

“We got some more (cases) in the last three days,” Kiffin said. “It’s becoming very challenging. We had two starters out last week. This is not easy and for whatever reason, it continues to hit us on defense.”

Contract tracing is playing a big part in taking players off of the field.

“What is really difficult is if I get it, I am out for 10 days,” Kiffin said. “If someone is close to me, they are out for 14 days due to contact tracing. Losing close contact for 14 days as they continue to test negative. That’s what is really difficult.”

Although Kiffin and his staff were forced to adjust the defense by moving some players to different positions against Arkansas, the defense still managed to play well.

“It was a combination of playing better and getting more pressure on the quarterback,” Kiffin said. 

Junior linebacker MoMo Sanogo discussed how things gelled against the Razorbacks.

“…Making sure that we are assignment sound,” Sanogo said. “Making sure that everyone knows their job, and that we are communicating to make things happen.

As new players are taking the field as others enter quarantine, communication on the field has become more important than ever.

“That is what we are stressing, that everybody just communicates to the person you are supposed to,” Sanogo said. “Yell it out loud.”

Younger players that once looked to older team members are now learning their positions through trial by fire.

“Guys have been put into the fire multiple times this season,” Sanogo said. “It is just about responding as we have been. That’s how we approach it every week, figuring out and communicating well. That’s how we have passed these things. I don’t think it’s going to be too much of a challenge. Younger guys have seen how the older guys approach this. I think they will be able to approach it well.”