Ole Miss dealing with COVID-19 outbreak ahead of Arkansas game

The SEC has already been forced to postpone this Saturday’s Vanderbilt-Missouri and LSU-Florida matchups due to COVID-19 outbreaks, and now, it appears that Ole Miss’ trip to Fayetteville may be in jeopardy as the Rebels deal with an outbreak of their own.

During a post-practice press conference, Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin stated that the program has an unspecified number of positive cases — the team’s first outbreak since fall camp. As for the possibility of playing a game this Saturday, Kiffin kept his response short.

“We can play today, so we’ll see,” he said.

At the beginning of the season, the SEC set a 53-player minimum that programs must meet in order to play with specific stipulations for several position groups.

“Seven (7) offensive linemen (which includes one center), one (1) quarterback and four (4) defensive linemen.”

Game prep will continue for the Rebels, but Kiffin noted that reshuffling the roster will present a challenge moving forward.

“It’s very difficult, moving people around and we’re beat up too from a very high play count, intense game versus a great opponent Saturday, so we are not in a great situation number-wise at all,” he said.

It was once a question if we would get college football at all this year, and Kiffin is using this situation as a teaching moment for his team.

“It just got real,” the first-year head coach told the team Monday. “It doesn’t hit home until it happens to you. Now, they’re seeing it and seeing depth charts move and people have to change positions and different things, so I hope it really was another reminder. It only takes one person to really screw it up.”

Anticipating the possibility of postponements, the SEC built an extra week into its 10-game, conference-only schedule with games being made up on December 12th ahead of the conference title game on the 19th.