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Transcript of Lane Kiffin on Texas A&M

Head coach Lane Kiffin at his Monday press conference Courtesy of Ole Miss Athletics

Ole Miss head football coach Lane Kiffin met with the media Monday to preview this Saturday’s home game versus Texas A&M. Kickoff is set for 11 a.m. CT at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium and on ESPN. A transcript can be found below.

Opening Statement:
“Huge challenge this week. These guys are absolutely loaded, it’s actually a mind-blowing collection of talent. As you watch them offensively, defensively, return game, special teams, it really is an NFL roster. Height, weight, speed, explosiveness. Receivers that can score at any time, and great running backs. Their defense is playing as well as anyone in the country. The collection of defensive line has to be one of the best ever. And the linebacker [Edgerrin Cooper] is playing like the SEC Player of the Year. It’ll take a great week of practice, great preparation and great scheme to play these guys. This is a huge challenge. They’ve done a phenomenal job of getting a collection of players that are extremely elite and talented players. Even better than a year ago. This is a big challenge.”

On the Texas A&M front seven:
“Just dominant. They’re dominant players in the run, they can pass rush and they bring other ones in to rush too. It’s not very exciting for our O-Line coach [John Garrison], I can tell you that. A&M’s done a great job of collecting players and putting them together, so it’s a big challenge.”

On cracking the top-10 in rankings two years in a row:
“I think that’s kind of neat to be in the top-10 three straight years. But it doesn’t matter to me, except for where you finish. It’s good that it brings attention to the program. To be able to do that, especially when you’re going against a program that normally you would think would be in the top-10 three years in a row with their roster, it says a lot about our players, our coaches and our fans. What really matters is where you finish at the end of the year. That’s our goal to keep getting better and keep winning games. We’re going to try to achieve our goals and not let others achieve their goals. I think Jimbo [Fisher] said their goal is to be bowl eligible, so if we can get in the way of that that would be good for us too.”

On the impact Bobby Petrine has had on the A&M offense:
“Bobby does a great job. Always has, wherever he’s been. Really great scheme, great players. I actually was the quality control coach at the Jacksonville Jaguars when he was the offensive coordinator. I’ve always had unbelievable respect for him.”

On the difference in the A&M offense with Max Johnson instead of Connor Weigman:
“I think that he calls his plays and does a great job of it. He kind of has a pro-style passing game, but then causes you some problems because it has college elements to it too. Like I said they’re better personnel than a year ago and a lot of those young guys are a year older, and they’re obviously way better schematically.”

On where this defense ranks amongst other defenses he has gone up against:
“I mean talent wise it’s got to be as good as anybody. I certainly realize who’s coming next on the schedule. But these guys, when you look at height, weight, speed, and the way that they run, I don’t know how you collect much better [talent]. So, congratulations to their group that collected these guys.”

On if there’s an advantage to having the first early kickoff of the year come late in the season:
“I don’t know. I always thought we would play well. We’re a morning format team, so we practice every day early in the morning. The kids are here at 6, 6:30 in the morning every day. We’re already off of the field now [at noon]. The majority of people are more traditional, old school, afternoon practice. I would think, body clock-wise, this would benefit us more in these early games. The other day you said we played well in road night games, which I didn’t realize, so who knows. These guys, I was thinking it was in our favor, but they just got used to it because they just played one a week ago, so who knows.”

On if he sees a benefit that DJ Durkin used to be on the Ole Miss staff:
“Benefit to us? I don’t think really. That usually benefits them more, from initially knowing the personnel of us and what we do. And when he was here, we kind of played different schematically the last two years than what they’re doing now, so I don’t think it benefits us a lot.”

On what he says to his offensive line before the upcoming matchup against the A&M defensive line:
“We’ve got to play really well in all areas whenever you have personnel that you go play like this. Glad it’s at home so hopefully there’s some crowd noise involved. Obviously if you go play at their place, that’s an issue helping them. They’ve played very different, as you can see record-wise, under Jimbo at home with that crowd and on the road. It’s been dramatically different.”

On the defense’s performance during the month of October:
“I am pleased with our defense and how we’re playing. We’re going to have a much bigger challenge with their schematic change this year, they present a lot more challenges than before. We’re going to have a really big challenge against these guys.”

On how his quarterbacks develop chemistry quickly with transfer portal receivers:
“A lot of that’s on them. They have to do a lot of off-season work. Sometimes you get guys really late like Zakhari [Franklin] so they don’t have that, but that is a challenge. It’s a challenge in your timing with your passing game for those guys to get used to each other, especially if you have guys miss some time like Tre [Harris] did or like Jordan [Watkins] did with his hand.”

On how the Jimbo Fisher hot seat rumors will affect A&M this weekend:
“I don’t know that. I think people said he was on the hot seat last year, so I don’t know that the rally around him thing works. It’s part of the profession, I think that it just comes with it. You’ve just got to get back to work and do the best that you can every week.”

On if he’s concerned that players are looking ahead to Georgia:
“No. This team is way too talented to look ahead. If they were, they got woken up this morning when we showed them the film. I know I’ve said it a number of times, but this is like an NFL roster of talent collected and out together. And no, it’s even harder to beat them than it was the last two years because now they have Bobby Petrino running the offense. This is a really, really, really elite talented team that very easily could be a top-five team in the country.”

Courtesy of Ole Miss Sports

Adam Brown
Adam Brown
Sports Editor

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