Ole Miss Football Practice Report: To the Sunshine State

Published 7:00 am Thursday, December 31, 2020

OXFORD, Miss. – The Ole Miss football team wrapped up its final full bowl practice Wednesday morning as the Rebels hone in on their date with the No. 7 Indiana Hoosiers in the Outback Bowl on Jan. 2, 2021, in Tampa, Florida.

Ole Miss will hold a walkthrough practice on Thursday morning before heading south. Lane Kiffin‘s Rebels will practice in Tampa one final time on Friday before taking on the Hoosiers.

“Final practice here, because we just walkthrough on Thursdays, then we’ll load up to go down there, have our Friday practice down there and go to play the game,” Kiffin said. “Great opportunity for us. As we know, first time in five years. Top 10-11 opponent. As we’ve talked about, we’re shorthanded, especially offensively. It is what it is. You saw some guys last night in bowl games step up when their chances came. Hopefully we’ll have some guys step up.”

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Kiffin has no shortage of ties to not only the state of Florida and the city of Tampa. His father, Monte Kiffin, was the defensive coordinator for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers when they won Super Bowl XXXVII behind one of the best defenses in NFL history. In early 2020, Monte’s name was added to Tampa Bay’s Ring of Honor at Raymond James Stadium.

As Kiffin looks up on Saturday and sees his father’s name etched into the Ring of Honor, he hopes there will be plenty of recruits watching on as well. As the Rebel head coach told the media Wednesday, a major perk of bowl eligibility is the postseason exposure.

“It’s good, especially if you’re in ones that are heavily viewed. It’s more advertising for recruiting,” Kiffin said. “It’s good because usually you have a winning records, and if you’re not, obviously you’re not in a good place if you’re not going to a bowl game.”

With the Outback Bowl in particular, the Rebels are gaining exposure in one of the most fertile recruiting grounds in the country. Ole Miss currently boasts eight Floridians on the roster, including freshman running back Henry Parrish Jr., who is coming off a breakout game at LSU. Kiffin and his staff have three more Floridians signed for the Class of 2021.

“We’ve always had success with Florida kids, going all the way back to USC with—speaking of Tampa—Mike Williams. He’s actually coming by practice Friday,” Kiffin said. “There’s always great players in Florida. I think there’s something to Florida kids with how they work for the most part. We’ve got a couple last year that are doing really well here for us already. Especially Harlem, our running back, who had a big game last week as a true freshman at LSU.”