Andy Kennedy/Petre Thomas

Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy discussed his team's recent struggles and more on the SEC teleconference Monday afternoon

Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy weighed in on his team's recent struggles, the health of Deandre Burnett and the Rebels' overall mental psyche during the SEC teleconference Monday afternoon. Full transcript included.

On recently describing his team as ‘soft’: “Going into the Auburn game, which was our third SEC game, we were actually leading the SEC in rebounding margin. In our last three outings, starting at Auburn, which is our only SEC win, and at home against Georgia and then at South Carolina, we’ve been outrebounded by 30, which is a recipe for disaster for us. I’m just trying to get guys to be accountable and do what we’ve shown capable of doing, and that’s being physical, limiting second-chance opportunities. Our first-shot defense, believe it or not, has not been as bad as our numbers indicate. Our inability to secure our defensive glass has been problematic, and that’s something that has to be corrected. And that was the genesis of the comment.”

On the status of Deandre Burnett: “We don’t know right now. He’s day-to-day. He had a high-ankle sprain in the first half against Georgia, which kept him out the remainder of that game and then all of the South Carolina game. He is progressing. Until he gets back the full range of motion and strength, he will not be cleared to play. Once he gets to that level, then you know, with a high-ankle injury, it just comes back to pain tolerance. Dre’s a pretty tough kid, and I know he wants to be out there to help his team. I hate to give you coach speak, but it’s typically day-to-day.”

Deandre Burnett (USA Today)

On what Burnett means for Ole Miss when he’s healthy: “He can score on all three levels. He’s a guy that, from an efficiency standpoint, we’re trying to get him more efficient. His percentages need to be better. Our turnover margin for him and our team is just ridiculously too high, and as a result we’re really struggling at times offensively. But Deandre’s a guy that can score, and he can do it in a multitude of ways.”

On how the team is trying to make up for the production lost without Burnett: “We’ve got to do it collectively. We certainly don’t have a guy that we can just plug and play who can get us 18 a game, which is what Dre was getting us. We’ve got to do it collectively. Not only is Dre’s absence hurting us offensively, but then the guy that’s really been playing like an all-league player in Sebastian (Saiz), the last two games, has not played to his standard. Without Dre and without Sebas playing to his all-league level inside, we’ve struggled. That’s been evident.”

On the mental state of the team: “We have the mental psyche, right now, of a team that’s 1-4, which obviously is not real cheery. But kids are resilient, man. They’re not typically as gloomy as the coaches. They understand that we’ve got another opportunity tomorrow night. There’s really nothing we can do about the five that are behind us. We need to focus on the ones that are in front of us. We’ve got an opportunity to do so against a Tennessee team that is coming off, maybe, their best effort of the year. They played outstanding in a win at Vanderbilt.”

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