Football – Lane Kiffin Introductory Press Conference
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Football – Lane Kiffin Introductory Press Conference

Ben Garrett from
the Ole Miss Spirit. This is for both Keith and Lane. In the process you mentioned you would look for a
particular type of coach. One that excited the Ole
Miss fan base and that. What did you find in Lane? And Lane, what was kind of
the discussions with Keith? What was your, did you all
know each other beforehand? What was that like in
that process together? Talking and getting to know
each other Coach to Coach? No, we did not know
each other before. I was able to get on
the phone with Lane kind of middle of the week
and had a great conversation. And talked about some really
good things and obviously, you know knowing him from afar, he checked the boxes on a lot
of what we had talked about. What we wanted to
bring to Ole Miss. But obviously
you’ve got to build a personal relationship
with somebody. So, we got on the phone, had a great
conversation and then I was able to go
down and spend about two and a half,
three hours with him. Face-to-face, talked about
a lot of different things. Football, life,
philosophy, you know, vision, all those things. I think after I
left that meeting I felt very comfortable that we were going to align
on a lot of things. We were able to get it done. Yeah I think, you know as he mentioned we did
not know each other. As this started coming
about, you obviously research the job, just
like they research you. And a big thing is
who you work for. And so, I was really
excited once I found out his background as a great player. Not just as a great player, but a great player
here especially. So, you know when you
bring recruits to a place and you’re able to
bring them to your athletic director and
they can sell the place. Not just from having been
here as athletic director, but being there as
a student athlete. And then you know,
really visiting with him and how his passion
for winning here, and getting everyone
aligned here the right way, and doing this thing together. David Johnson with 247Sports
and Ole Miss Spirit. Lane, can you kind of
just walk us through what your process is gonna be on filling out your staff? Where you’re at
with that right now and what the coming
days may look like. Sure, you know we’ve been
in a lot of work on that. You know, trying
to figure it out. You know, so we’ll bring
a great staff here. My agents Jimmy Sexton
and Ed Manowitz are here and they’ve been able to help
me a lot through this process. I forgot to thank
them out there, so that’s why I threw
that plug in there. And so, we have two
coaches we brought with us our strength coach Wilson Love. And assistant coach Kevin Smith. And then, you know,
we’ll figure it out. We’ll interview the
guys that are here, and potentially keep
some of them too. Parrish Alford, Daily
Journal, Tupelo. Lane, you touched on this
a little bit out there, but how do you feel that
you are different since USC in terms of off the field
maturity, that sort of thing? Well, that’s a
very fair question. You know that when you
go through obstacles, you know, that
sometimes seem like, you know, really bad things. You know there’s a book
“Obstacles the Way” by Ryan Holiday. And he sent me that book. And that book really
kinda put things in a different light to me. You know, you could have
something like the firing of USC that you feel at the time
is the end of the world when it happens, you know. And are you ever going to get
a head coaching job again? You know, you go through,
well we were on sanctions. All that stuff that
you go through. And then, you know, I look
at that differently now and say, “Hey you know
what, had that not happened, “I would have never went
to go work for Nick Saban.” So that obstacle, you know
really helped me develop. And so, I think going
to work with Coach was great from XO’s,
all that stuff. But really from how he manages the program from top to bottom. And I mentioned it in there, I feel like, you know I
was a head coach before. You know, back to like USC. And I was really the
offensive coordinator, being the head coach, you know? Developing players,
getting them to the NFL. And getting a lot
of players drafted. And then, I really
kind of changed and really realized
okay this is, there’s more to it than
this, that’s not my calling. You know God’s calling for me wasn’t just to get guys drafted
and make a bunch of money. It was to develop
them off the field and have relationships
with them, and help them through things. So, I feel like there’s
a lot different that way in player relationship
this time around. And I’m not saying
today, this has been for the last three years
as a head coach. I would like to think those
players would say that. Nick Suss with the
Mississippi Clarion-Ledger. What made now the
right time for you to want to make the jump
back into Power Five TSCC and what made Ole Miss
the attractive choice over some of the other schools that might have courted you
over the last couple weeks? Yeah, I mean I’m
not going to talk about other schools today. Obviously, today
is about Ole Miss. And, you know it always, I
remember losing here at Alabama. You know, and like I said, we lost two regular season games in three years both
to the same team. And you know, my
brother Chris was here. And so, I had also spent
part of a summer here with the family at Chris’ house. And went around and saw
the areas and the people and said “That’s
a special place.” You know, that’s a really
neat place to live. And you can win there
because I saw it. No one else was beating us
and so I always kind of said “You know that’s a premier job, “that at times has performed
like that and at times hasn’t.” You know that’s partly
why we’re here today. So, it’s our job to
bring it back to where it’s been before and sustain. You know one thing that he said
that I really liked was, you know the programs
done well at times. But then all of a
sudden it will go from nine or 10 to four or five wins. You don’t have those jumps. And so if we, when
we nail this thing recruiting wise from top
to bottom in our classes. And not just some
stars at the top so our rankings big you know. And we develop the
bottom of the roster, then we avoid those
type of swings. Lane, Brian Rippee
Super Talk Mississippi. I know it’s early but what
are your initial impressions of the roster that
you’ll be inheriting? Yeah I mean I’ve looked
at it a little bit. Obviously we were
playing a game, so it’s not like I studied it
from a personnel standpoint. It was really more talking
to people that knew, you know around the league. You know they had a
lot of excitement over these last two classes,
especially the last one. And so, that made
it very attractive. Lane, Steven Gagliano
News Mississippi. With the early signing
period coming up, how important is it to kind
of hit the ground running? Yeah, I mean we’re going
from here I believe. We’re going somewhere, so
they gave me a schedule. I didn’t know what
it was but you know. Actually last night,
actually had a meeting with a recruit last night. And then, I think eight o’clock
or something last night. And then had another one
starting at 6:30 a.m. today. So, you don’t win
in this conference just by being a good coach. You know, you win in
this conference by having really good assistance to
get really good players. There’s too much talent in
this conference to just, you know, think coaching
alone does that. Lane, Neal McCready
with You were always considered
an elite recruiter, but what did you learn about
recruiting as a philosophy for a team in your three years
with Coach Saban of Alabama? I think more the NFL
model as far as you know, the evaluation, extremely
thorough evaluations on kids. A lot of you know people
from the head coach to the coordinator position coach, all
evaluating a grading system. You know before, we
recruited great at USC, you know as assistant
with Coach Carol. And then our first year there, even with the sanction we signed the number one class
in the country. I think at one point you
know, since then Alabama have been on the run,
that’d been the last team. But there I felt like
it was more okay, we just want these
guys and these guys and we don’t want these guys. And this now is, our system is
a lot more like an NFL team. And I think now in college
football more than ever, it really is like an NFL team. Because now you have
what, high school, junior college kids, transfer kids, grad transfer kids, guys
leaving your program. So there’s basically like
free agency in there. And you gotta figure out how
you’re going to manage that. You know, and which ones
you’re going to take. It didn’t used to be like that. There were hardly any transfers. So it used to just be,
okay take high school kids, and the only decision was, do you take some
junior college kids. So I think it’s
extremely important to, we talked about before,
avoid doing this. Lane, Nate Gabler
with the Oxford Eagle. It’s been a lot of like
two and three year stints with you over the last
like decade place. What, do you see Ole Miss
as kind of a long-term job and what about Ole Miss kind
of makes you feel that way? Yes. [audience laughs] You didn’t see how big
my buyout was yet did ya? So, that’s a very fair question. You know now obviously Alabama, we’re assistant coach,
so you gotta move. You know and so,
Florida Atlantic was a very exciting place. It was not one of those that
I was just leaving to leave. Even just to go to the
SEC, it wasn’t that. It had to be a place that
really felt things were aligned in order to be somewhere
that you can really win. And so, I have zero reason
to leave here, because what? You’re in the best conference
that there is in football. You got great leadership, and you got the ability
to recruit great players and you have an
awesome fan base. I saw that first
hand when I was about getting run over
after that game. You know, when that
game ended here, that exciting game and the
fans stormed the field. Lane, have you met
with the team yet? And if not what’s
kind of the message you’re going to
say to those guys to keep some of them here
and kinda get them energized? Yeah, I believe that’s
our next step here, in the next hour or two I think. So, you know just a
lot of the same things we said in the press conference. Just you know talking
about open competition, everyone’s got a clean slate. You know whether
you’re a great play, you know whether you’ve
been a great player here or you haven’t played at all. So, you know, just
motivate them. The good thing I think is, you
know not to sound arrogant, but I think they
know who we are. They know players we’ve coached,
championships and stuff, so that usually makes it a
lot easier when you come in and they’ve already
known you’ve done it. And they know players
you’ve coached. And so they say,
the receiver says, “Oh I remember you
coaching Amari Cooper “and him winning
the Biletnikoff.” So, or you’re a running
back, and they say “Oh, I saw, what you’d
do with Derrick Henry “and Reggie Bush
and two Heismans.” So we’ve got a lot
of really good things to sell that we have proof of. So we’re not saying “Hey this
is what it’s gonna look like, “but we haven’t done it before.” Lane, there are some who had chosen to enter
the transfer portal. Do you welcome those
into these discussions? Sure, you know we’re going
to look at everything. Everything is a clean slate. You know I had a, I’m not
going to get into names. But I had a kid today, you
know just when I was walking around the field
today, come up to me and he entered the portal I
guess earlier in the season. And came up and said
“Hey, I was leaving “because I felt like I wasn’t
getting developed and wasn’t, “the right type of
offense for me.” But, he said, “I’ve never
met you, but I know what “you’ve done, and so
I’m taking my name “out of the portal if
you’ll have me back.” Keith, have you
guys talked about analyst, recruiting
office personnel, beefing up all that stuff to compete with the
LSUs and the Alabamas? Yeah, I mean we haven’t
spoken specifics, obviously Coach Kiffin
will lead that charge. I think what we did
with the assistant pool and the staff pool is very
competitive and will give him an opportunity to work at
the very highest level. But certainly those
will be his decisions and we’ll do everything
we can to support. Lane, Joe Cook WAPT, I was wondering, you’ve
been a head coach of course. Talk about the reception you’ve
received from the fan base. Did you ever think
that you’d be kissing and hugging babies at the tarmac
when you got off the plane? A lot better than another
tarmac experience that I had. [audience laughs] I didn’t think of that. It was like an anniversary
or something like that. So, that was really neat to see. I didn’t know people were
allowed on the tarmac, so. But it was pretty cool. I felt like I was in a
movie, like, all of a sudden they were closing in
on you and were in, and they’ve got all the
lights shining like. They just keep closing
in and closing in and I’m like, “Alright,
where we going here”? And so, they’re like “Just
get out it will be okay.” And I’m like “Okay.” And it was awesome, the
reception was great. It was really neat, you
could feel the energy. From my understanding
it’s not real easy to find parking there and stuff. And so, that was really
neat and special for them to go out of their
way to do that. And what I was told basically
have a tailgate party. Lane, David Callahan,
News Radio Network. I want to go back to
your brother Chris. And just, what were your
conversations with him like, over the last few
days to maybe solidify what he what he about the
experience here was like. Well he was helpful for
me, you know in discussions with him, because he was
here before when they won. And then he’s coached with
me, so he knows how I coach. So I said, “Well
what do you think?” He said, “You know I think
that you’ll kill it there. “You know I’ve been around
you, I’ve coached for you, “and you know where you’re
at and what you’ve learned “from Coach Saban and
those things and you know, “half of you had won three
games, three years in a row.” So those seniors had never
won more than three games. In the first year
we won 11 games, so he was there for
that to see that. So, he really excited me too. I mean, I have confidence. I know we’re gonna
win but he really, you know cemented that by
some things that he said. Lane, you mentioned technology and analytics in
your opening thing. What, does that,
is there a staffer that you might bring in
to do that sort of stuff? And what does that sort
of side of the football this last decade
kind of mean to you? Yeah, nowadays you don’t
necessarily have to hire someone cause they have systems
so you hire a company. CAI is what we’ve used before
and so, they do a great job. We were kind of at
the forefront of that. And really actually was
so excited about it. Helped them get more
clients because, it does change the
way that you think. They give you a weekly
report every week of things around the country. Here’s all these situations
and this is how people handled them and this
is how they should have. So when you dive into it and
really spend hours studying it. It’s not how you,
it doesn’t tell you how to coach the way
that most coaches coach. The old school way from
an analytics standpoint is extremely conservative. You know, there’s
so many more times you’re supposed to
be going for it. You’re supposed to not be
kicking long field goals, and people just punt
or they go kick. And they don’t
realize okay there’s a six percent chance to
make that field goal. But as the coach you say
“Well I put him out there “and he missed it. I did
what I was supposed to.” Versus, you know
a lot of coaches are afraid of the press
conference afterwards and so they do the
conservative easy thing. Because then you
guys don’t rip him. So, get ready to rip me. [audience laughs] Lane, Tim WLBT. This being your third
stint in a conference. How have you seen, I guess
college football as a whole but this conference
specifically, change or evolve? I don’t know, I mean it
was extremely competitive you know 10 years
ago at Tennessee. I think maybe as competitive
as the conference has ever been, maybe ever. You know when you look at
the coaches that were there, and Coach Spurrier and Urban
Meyer, obviously Nick Saban. I mean and it was loaded
with great players. I remember saying at
Tennessee the difference was, you know coming
from the West Coast, and the pack 12, probably
pack 10 at that time probably. But it was like every week you had a nightmare
match-up somewhere. You know, there was a
great defensive line, a great front seven player
on every single team in the conference,
from top to bottom. So, it’s extremely competitive. I don’t know that it’s
changed that much. To me it’s always been this way. And so if anything,
right now maybe it’s a little bit more lopsided
than it was back then where you know it was
a little more even. Is that what kind of draws you back here to this
point, that competition? This is the highest
level, you know, this is the highest level. The best players, the best
coaches that you go against. So, if you’re
competitive you know, this is what you, this
is where you want to be. And had a great experience
the last three years. In a lot of ways
that was more special than winning national
championships. You know, when Alabama was over, we were on I think a
26 game win streak. We won 34 straight at USC. But the experience
with those players that weren’t going to go to
the NFL at Florida Atlantic and they had never won,
and then to give them that. You know that was as
special as anything. But I still felt
like, all right, let’s go back to
the highest level. Now that we’re really
prepared for this better. And having been the
places that we’ve been, going through those
obstacles and that. So, we’re in a much
better position to win and to do everything
right from top to bottom. And not make some
of those mistakes that we made 10 years
ago at Tennessee. Lane, kind of
feeding off of that. [murmurs] NBC Memphis. What is the challenge
in topping in Alabama? You’ve seen the inner
workings of that program, what do you have
do to be like that? Well like I said,
it happened here. It happened two times here, you know, in
whatever three years. So, the goal is to continue
to beat people like that for an extended amount of time. So, that takes a lot of work. It doesn’t happen over night. We’ve got to hire great staff. We’ve got to recruit great kids, and kids that are going to stay. And every kid is not
going to be a five-star. We’ve got to develop and
that’s another great thing about the experience was, you know we were
developing no-star kids at Florida Atlantic at times. So, because there used
to be a knock on us, well everywhere we went we’d
always have the best players because we’d always have the top recruiting class
wherever we were. So, I think that helps
us a lot, because we know they’re not all going
to be five-stars. Developing the
bottom of the roster so they can be productive
and help us play. You know versus, where maybe
10 years ago your head coach, “Okay let’s go coach
these guys all right”. And those guys will never play. Tyler Horka, Jackson
Clarion-Ledger. On the topic of beating
some of the opponents in your own conference. Previous coach here
probably solidified his head coaching job here by
beating Mississippi State and then maybe the
last two years, that was a big reason that
he’s not here anymore. It could be a big reason
that the head coach down there is still there,
is that he won two weeks ago. All that said, how much, what does it mean to you
to walk into a position where you’re head
coach at a university, that it does mean a lot
to beat one other team in this conference,
Mississippi State? Well, I mean I think
anywhere you go you usually have
rivalry games, you know. So I think this one maybe
is a little unique is from, you know the two are both
in the same conference, you know both in the same state. So, and obviously
highly competitive in recruiting
against each other. Because that’s the biggest
reason why you win games. So, you know we’re excited
about the competition and you know, keeping
these kids home. Have you spoken to either Coach Saban or Coach Carol
about this situation here? And what was there response
to you taking this job? I did not yet. Obviously coaches are
extremely busy and usually I, a lot of times would bounce
on and off of Coach Carol. But I felt so good about this
situation here, that I didn’t. Usually I’d call him and say “Hey what do you
think about it?” You know, and so I didn’t. But I’m sure here very soon
I’ll talk to both of them. We’ll take a couple
of more questions. How confident are you that you can keep the best
players in the state at Ole Miss, and
how big is that? In your thing out
there you said that you can go anywhere in the country
and get anybody you want. But how important are these guys here within The
Magnolia State border? Oh extremely important
and it started last night. I mean I didn’t even change
clothes yet from the plane. And you know we got you know, obviously I can’t talk
specifically kids. But you know starting
last night and 6:30 this morning
with in-state kids. Keith, a lot of times
athletic directors and their big hires are kind
of linked to those hires. How much did you
think about that as you were going out
and selecting Lane? You know I think for
me it was kind of exactly what I said last
week at the press conference. I wanted to go
find the best coach for our situation and you know, certainly we’re
going to be linked. We talked about that, we
talked about locking arms and doing this thing together. You know, I even mentioned
to him when we were meeting, I still haven’t signed
my contract yet. So, I’m gonna be
here a long time. I plan on being here a
long time as does he. So, we talked about that and certainly we’re
going to be linked. But, my goal was to go
find the best coach, and that could
galvanize our fan base, be the leader of young men and
certainly at end of the day, we want to win a lot of games. Keith, did you sense any kind of fan movement
to get behind Lane? Did you feel that at all? Yeah you could feel that. You could feel that a
little bit for sure. You know and I think that,
you know when we talked. We didn’t talk until
the middle of the week. And you know I’d been talking
to a few other people. And talked to him and
just realized that, you know the charisma
and just kinda the energy that he had was going to be
perfect for coming in here and doing the things
that we need him to do. Lane, you’ve got the
right colors on today. Suit, tie, shirt and everything. Did you have all that cause
I know everything moved fast, or did you have to go pick
up something on the fly? There’s a lot of stories
behind this outfit. [audience laughs] I had some really good suits. But then I went to Alabama and I gained some weight,
so those don’t fit anymore. [audience laughs] So, this isn’t even my
suit, but I actually. This is actually
Jimmy Sexton’s suit. So he’s lost weight so
we’re kind of even now. [audience laughs] We’ll take one more. Keith was this process I mean, becoming the new AD
then the official tag, and knowing you had some hire. Was this process at any point, like stressful,
knowing how important, how did you navigate
this thing at Ole Miss? Sorry if my facial expression
showed the answer to that. No, there was some
stress to it for sure. And let me say this,
this has been a hard week for Ole Miss Athletics. You know in general,
not just with football. You know there’s
been some changes we’ve had to make and it’s
been a hard, a hard week. But certainly, kind of the
tough part of this business is you know after
you make a change, as emotional as it is
and all those things. You’ve got to jump
to the next step And so I did that,
again working with Chad and our search consultant,
we were able to jump right in and get
the search going. But yeah, if you’re
gonna to make a change, you need to get
the next one right and there’s a lot of
pressure to do that. And I couldn’t be more
happy with our choice and I think we got it right.


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