Ole Miss escaped their matchup with the Arkansas Razorbacks this past weekend, winning 52-51 in Oxford, in what was one of the most physically exhausting games for the Rebels in recent memory.
In fact, a handful of players on defense ended up playing around 70-80 snaps on against the Razorbacks, and Kiffin discussed the reasoning behind the increased workload.
"That was not good," Kiffin told reporters. "A lot of guys played in the 70s, some and 80s, which is not good no matter what, especially against the tempo. And since we were also running tempo, there wasn't a lot of delay between series so our guys weren't getting as much rest."
Players who do not normally start are going to have to step up moving forward or a lack of depth on defense is going to start hurting the Rebels.
"We have to play more guys," Kiffin said. "Guys have to give us confidence that when they play, they play well. We wore down as the game went on and it was evident."
Kiffin brought up what the defense will look to improve upon going into Saturday when they take on a very hot Tennessee offense.
"Two keys, one is to play more players, but the most important one is to get off the field on third and fourth down so these long drives don't wear down or guys."
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For Ole Miss, the less the defense is on the field the better. This defense had a tough matchup with Arkansas and it is not going to get any easier going against Tennessee's offense in Knoxville.
Kiffin also talked about what this upcoming matchup versus Tennessee means to him, given his history with the program.
"That was a long time ago," said Kiffin. "Since USC I've played against USC, I've played against Tennessee, and I've played against Alabama. This isn't the first time I've gone back to a place I used to coach so I'm gonna treat it like any other game."
Finally, Kiffin talked about Jerrion Ealy who did not play last week due to injury.
"We hope that he plays," Kiffin said. "Credit to the offensive players who stepped up against, what I consider to be, a really good defense. It never hurts to have guys like [Jerrion] on the field."
Time will tell if the Rebel defense will be able to contain a Tennessee offense that has blown out its last two SEC opponents. One thing is for certain though, it is shaping up to be one exciting return to Knoxville for Lane Kiffin.
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