Day 1 of spring football practice at Ole Miss – the first-ever spring session for second-year coach Lane Kiffin – saw the affable head man in midseason form.
Especially as Kiffin, on the heels of a debut season in The Grove that concluded with a stirring upset of then-No. 11 Indiana in the Outback Bowl, revealed why he has elected to open up some of the Rebels' Saturday practice sessions.
“Just wanted to be nice to you guys,” Kiffin said. “Let you guys (be) there.
“It's been a rough year for everybody. Just trying to help you guys out. There's no other reason.”
Kiffin long has ascribed to a savvy media approach, not without some controversy, for his willingness to perpetually speak his mind but also have his programs be relatively open books for media.
Of course, Kiffin also treats almost every press conference as a de facto recruiting infomercial. With the buzz from last season, including explosive offensive performances in narrow losses to Alabama and Florida, as well as a strong recruiting class, Kiffin doesn't dismiss chatter of greater expectations.
It just isn't much of a topic yet for an Ole Miss team that Kiffin estimates returns nearly 90% intact.
“We probably will eventually,” Kiffin said of addressing the hype. “It's good to have some energy around [the program] and with that comes expectations as a team and as individuals, especially some players like the quarterback (Matt Corral) coming back.
“I'm sure there will be a lot of preseason attention on that.”
The Rebels are scheduled to conclude their first spring under Kiffin, who like virtually all of college football saw last year's early session wiped out due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with the Grove Bowl April 24. Ole Miss then kicks off its 2021 campaign against Louisville on Labor Day night in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff in Atlanta.
As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest news and notes in college football.