OXFORD — This week’s made-for-TV hoodie, sported by Lane Kiffin at his regular Monday presser, said “Transfer To The Sip.”
Every appearance is calculated, and the message has a target audience.
Kiffin has been adamant that he and his staff will modify their approach in any part of the Ole Miss program to keep pace with the changes in college football.
So while the jury is still out on his first transfer-dominant roster, he’s preparing for his second.
The first made promising strides in Week 2 in the Rebels’ 59-3 win against an overmatched FCS opponent, Central Arkansas.
Kiffin noted that except for a 1-yard touchdown run by quarterback Luke Altmyer, every other Ole Miss touchdown was scored by a transfer.
“That’s a lot of guys doing right for 59 points … good place to transfer to,” he said in his opening remarks.
Seeking to replace 14 starters and additional quality depth, Kiffin added 24 transfer portal players to his 2022 roster.
Sometimes you’ll find a plug-and-play guy who produces at any given position with no real discernible drop-off, but you’re not going to find that 24 times.
Kiffin says he’s aware of the “good and bad” that will likely come with portal rebuilding.
Ole Miss started fast in its opener against Troy but faltered in the second half.
He was pleased to see his players maintain their intensity in the third quarter against UCA.
Fifty-nine points against an FCS opponent comes with an asterisk.
The Southeastern Conference-FCS matchups are mostly about playing against yourself. So much of what the SEC players are trying to do is keep the right frame of mind and execute, and the Rebels did those things.
The quarterback competition has dominated the Ole Miss conversation since the summer.
It still does, although that could change after Saturday’s trip to Georgia Tech.
It’s possible Kiffin begins next week with a named starter moving forward. It’s time.
This week Kiffin wants to see his transfers handle a road game with their new team with no drama.
On the field he’d like to see better technique and better tackling on defense.
He’d like to see more attention to detail on offense, describing the Rebels on Monday as a team that makes big plays but doesn’t convert on third and fourth downs as often as necessary.
The quarterback situation plays into that.
For now, the transfers have done good things and shown growth.
Kiffin wants to see more growth.
But he’s seen enough — from his transfers and from the trends of college football — to continue to embrace this model moving ahead.