Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin announced Saturday morning he has tested positive for COVID-19 and has not travelled with the Rebels to Atlanta for its season opener.
The announcement came less than 72 hours from the Ole Miss vs. Louisville kickoff. Kiffin had touted earlier in the season a 100 percent vaccination rate within the program and highlighted how effective he felt the vaccine worked as his symptoms have been mostly mild.
There are currently no other positive tests on the staff or team, according to the announcement.
It has not been announced who will step in as interim head coach for the game or how playcalling will be handled, though Ole Miss fans can likely assume it will be passed on to offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby.
Ultimately, the x’s and o’s are much less of a concern as Kiffin’s health is paramount in his recovery from this positive test. Certainly the staff here at the Cup will be keeping our thoughts with the Rebel head coach and his family for a speedy recovery.
Kiffin interviewed with ESPN’s College Gameday to talk about the timeline of his symptoms, testing and how he discussed the outcome with the team. The Clarion Ledger’s Nick Suss transcribed the interview and posted to Twitter here.
Certainly, this is a curveball for the football team as it will be without its leader, and the coaching staff will have the unfortunate burden of refocusing the team in a short window.
Oxford and Ole Miss have been proactive in trying to address the Covid pandemic, first with pushing vaccinations within the program. Additionally, the city of Oxford board of aldermen voted 4-3 to impose a mask mandate on Aug. 24 amid rising cases and concern in the community. The mandate requires masks to be worn by individuals over the age of six indoors, outdoors, and where social distancing is not possible.