Kiffin feels blessed

Ole Miss Defensive Line Coach Chris Kiffin comes from a line of successful coaches, father Monte and brother Lane, but he knows he's on his own when it comes to coaching the Rebel DL.

Pedigree. Lineage.

Ole Miss Defensive Line Coach Chris Kiffin has, in the world of football, both.

But he is acutely aware of the fact that it will be up to him to make his own mark and stand by his own work as the Rebel DL boss.

Kiffin, as most are aware, is the son of heralded NFL Defensive Coordinator Monte Kiffin and the brother of USC Coach Lane Kiffin.

"I'm proud of what my Dad and brother have accomplished in teh game of football and I have learned a lot from both of them, but I know the ball is in my court," said "Kiff," who was a four-year letterman at DT at Colorado State, recently. "I have to stand on my own two feet.

"They will have nothing to do with the success or failure of the Ole Miss defensive line. That's up to me. I can see where it may be a concern with me only being in my second year as a D-Line coach stepping into the job at Ole Miss and in the SEC, but I feel confident in my ability, partly based on how I was raised around football and from my playing experience."

Exposure. Kiffin's had plenty.

"I started out as a ball boy in the NFL. I played college football and have been under a lot of good coaches. I have learned under Bo Pelini (Nebraska), Sonny Lubick (Colorado State), Rod Marinelli (Tampa Bay) and Ed Orgeron and my Dad (USC)," he continued. "I am very comfortable with my training. I think those are some of the best mentors I could possibly have.

"I am just ready to hit the ground running and prove to everyone I belong."

Chris said his philosophy on coaching defensive line is to take the good from everyone he has worked under and use it to his advantage.

"I talk to Coach Marinelli and he always tells me it doesn't matter what level you are on, it's all about fundamentals, attitude and effort. Never leave that behind. Those are things you can control. You cannot control their speed or strength, but you can control doing things right, playing with good fundamentals, playing hard and playing with an attitude. If a guy has one move, we will throw that fastball until they hit it and then we will work on more moves. Do what you do best."

Kiff keeps a sense of humor when discussing his family as it applies to recruiting.

"When I first got to Arkansas State, Coach Freeze wanted to put me in Tennessee," he laughed. "I told him I didn't think that was a good idea. My name might not be good there.

"But my name helps me in other areas. I recruited the West coast and my Dad and brother were saying 'easy now, big boy, you are coming into our turf now.' Usually, when I go into a school, my name is a good door opener and I will use that."

Kiffen says the Rebels will back away from nobody in recruiting.

"Coach Freeze's philosophy is simple - we will recruit the best. We recruited kids with SEC offers at Arkansas State. We backed down from nobody and we certainly won't back down here at an SEC program," he explained. "If we have to go nationally, we will. We have already found out in less than a week that Ole Miss has a national name and there are kids all over the country who are interested in playing in the SEC. When we find that interest, and we will, we will attack it and try to sell ourselves and our school relentlessly. We will go after anyone and everyone. Already, when I go into schools with an Ole Miss shirt on, I can see instant recognition. We will use that to our advantage."

So far, Kiffin has not looked at a lot of film on the current Rebels, but a couple of interior guys caught his eye in a brief glance.

"I don't even know their names yet because we have been focusing entirely on recruiting, but number 92 (Carlton Martin) and 95 (Bryon Bennett) caught my eye as guys with some talent," he said. "I'm anxious, after signing day, to get deeper into the available personnel, but regardless, we will work with what we have and it's my job to get them better. That's the bottom line.

"I'm excited to start working with our guys and do everything I can to help them become the best they can be."

Kiffin was partially taught by Orgeron, who was almost maniacal in his approach and demeanor to coaching defensive linemen.

"I'm not sure I am as animated as Coach O, but I will get after it out there. I love practice, everything about it," he added. "We are in the office all day long and kids are in class all day long. I think of practice as our recess. I want our players to feel that way too.

"I love every bit of it and our players will too."

But first, recruiting.

"Our reception has been very good in a limited amount of time," he closed. "We have some relationships with some of these kids who we knew and recruited at ASU. Most doors are open to us.

"We just have to get them on campus in those official visit weekends in January. Ole Miss sells itself. We will go all out and we will get some good players."

Pedigree and lineage are important, but Chris Kiffin fully understands it's his baby now.

He believes he's up to the challenge.


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