Thursday, October 6, 2022

Ole Miss Faces Problems Preparing for the Outback Bowl

By Adam Brown
Sports Editor

Ole Miss gears up for its Outback Bowl matchup with the No.11 Indiana Hoosiers on Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021, at 11:30 a.m. on ABC.

On Monday, Coach Lane Kiffin spoke with the media during his weekly press conference to discuss the matchup.

“We are excited about this matchup and bowl game in Tampa,” Kiffin said. “First time in five years being in a bowl game for our program. Sure, a lot of our fans are excited as well, really excited, for our players to get to go to a bowl game.”

Indiana comes into the game with a 6-1 record. The Hoosiers’ only loss this season came at the hands of Ohio State.

“This will be challenging. They are very good,” Kiffin said. “There is a reason they are 6-1 and only lost to Ohio State by one score. [Indiana] are very challenging on defense schematically, and play really hard and create a lot of turnovers.”

According to Kiffin, the Rebels are dealing with a lot of injuries and opt outs as they prepare to head to Tampa.

“We are kind of running out of players here, which is not ideal when you are a tempo offense,” Kiffin said. 

Ole Miss has had to figure out a way to get through a season plagued by issues related to COVID-19.

“Early in the year, our issues were on defense with injuries and COVID. Now, they are on offense,” Kiffin said. “Obviously, we end the last game with the two most productive players in the pass game opted out, and didn’t play in the game. The next explosive receiver from a yards per catch standpoint goes out of the game and the starting tailback goes out. It’s a lot to handle.”

Sophomore running back Jerrion Ealy went down with an injury in the second half against the LSU Tigers. Ealy has started all nine games and rushed for 745 yards and nine touchdowns on the season.

Kiffin explained that Ealy is not ready to return to the field just yet.

“[Ealy] has not done anything yet,” Kiffin said. “We still have a long time to go, so hopefully he can. If not, you are going to see a lot of young guys.”

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