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Ole Miss football head coach Lane Kiffin has spent his head coaching career traveling the country to find his college football home.
Knoxville and Los Angeles ended on sour notes, while Boca Raton was a three-year pit stop as Kiffin looked to work his way back into the high-level coaching ranks.
But it is Oxford, Mississippi, where Kiffin has finally found his comfort zone, telling reporters how fondly he feels about the program and the city on Monday.
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“I look at it as, you go around town, there's so much excitement around the program, season ticket sales and everything — but I feel like I needed Oxford and Ole Miss a lot more than it needed me. I enjoy it here. It's been awesome. It's been really cool,” Kiffin said at his Monday press conference.
Kiffin took the head coaching job at Ole Miss in 2020, steering the Rebels to a 5-5 record during the COVID-impacted season. In his second year, Mississippi went 10-3 — the first 10-win season in Oxford since 2015 — and earned a trip to the Sugar Bowl.
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“I just think maybe that statement might not surprise people,” Kiffin continued when asked about his thoughts on Oxford. “Just when I thought of it the other day, I don't know I would've said that in the beginning, just living in the different cities I've lived in.
“As you guys know, here with Landry [Kiffin’s daughter] moving here and Juice [Kiffin’s dog] and everything, just how people are here. It's been really awesome for me. It's been part of a lot of changes that have taken place personally. It just didn't happen in these two years by chance, I think a lot of it had to do with coming here.”
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Kiffin will now attempt to navigate the SEC without the services of Matt Corral, who quarterbacked Ole Miss for Kiffin’s first two seasons in Oxford.
Ole Miss takes on Troy on Saturday to open their season and Kiffin has yet to name a starter as Jaxson Dart and Luke Altmyer battle for the job.
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“We still have not made a quarterback decision,” Kiffin said. “I thought they both played OK. I would've thought, again, we would've performed better in that situation against the other team. So, we'll keep plugging away. I do not know when I'll have that answer. We haven't even discussed the timeline as coaches because it has not emerged at all.”