Football Jared Redding, OleMissSports.com
OXFORD, Miss. — The college football world has been chaotic and ever-changing over the past couple of weeks, but very little will look different for the Ole Miss football team in the Allstate Sugar Bowl matchup on New Year’s Day. Matt Corral, Chance Campbell and head coach Lane Kiffin met with the media on Monday to talk about the current state of the squad.
After Monday’s practice, one thing was immediately apparent. Everyone wanted to be there with a goal in mind to win the Sugar Bowl, win an 11th game for the first time in school history and maximize time with each other as much as they can before some go their separate ways at season’s end.
"It was really good to be back out there," Kiffin said. "The players were excited. We’ve said throughout the year that we have a really special team, cool players that love practicing and love being around each other. It was really good after recruiting and after this break with all the stuff going on. To be back out there was awesome today."
The Rebels (10-2, 6-2) came together for the first time since their 31-21 Egg Bowl victory over Mississippi State on Thanksgiving Day. Since then, the players enjoyed some much-needed time off, while the coaching staff stayed busy with and recruiting trips and NCAA transfer portal evaluations. For both groups, Monday was a breath of fresh air.
"It was good to take a step back so you’re back to getting excited to play football… that break reminds you of how fun football is," Campbell said.
The Rebels were without offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Jeff Lebby, who was recently tabbed to lead his alma mater’s offense at Oklahoma under its new head coach, Brent Venables. However, Kiffin announced Monday that Lebby will return later this week and finish what he started along with his players in the Sugar Bowl.
"We’re happy for him going back to his alma mater," Kiffin said. "Great opportunity for him. He’s done a wonderful job here. He’s going to finish this off, which is awesome. It says a lot about basically this team, like we talked about, not seeing players opt out. It’s a special team and he’s a huge part of that. He’s doing work there, he’ll be back later this week. We respect dual-scheduling with him so he can get that job and do this too."
Corral is expected to be a potential top-20 pick in next year’s NFL draft. However, instead of opting out early for extra preparation, he like the rest of the team is making the upcoming bowl matchup the top priority. As of Monday, there have been no opt-outs on the squad. Corral himself ended all opt-out speculation following the Egg Bowl victory.
"I’m going to give these guys everything I got until it’s over," Corral said. "I have a full month with these guys left. I know it’s going to go by like that."
The Rebels will travel to New Orleans to face Baylor on New Year’s Day in the Allstate Sugar Bowl. Kickoff is set for 7:45 p.m. CT and can be seen on ESPN or listened to on the Ole Miss Radio Network.
Get all the latest information on the team by following @olemissfb on Twitter and Instagram and OleMissFootball on Facebook. General athletic news can also be found at OleMissSports on Twitter and Facebook and OleMissAthletics on Instagram.
2022 National Signing Day Coverage
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Kiffin a Finalist for Paul “Bear” Bryant Coach of the Year Award
Williams Garners Sporting News All-America Honors
Williams Named Walter Camp All-American
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