STARKVILLE, Miss. — Mississippi State head football coach Mike Leach met with the media Monday afternoon to discuss Mississippi State’s upcoming Egg Bowl game at rival Ole Miss. The contest is scheduled for 3 p.m. CT and will be televised by SEC Network.
Last week, Mississippi State traveled to Georgia with just 49 scholarship student-athletes available. Leach was asked if it will be the same case this weekend at Ole Miss.
“I don’t know. It has been very random,” Leach said. “That has been one of the things that is tough this year is adjusting to that. Some of these things you find out at awfully short notice.”
Leach then talked about what he knows about the Egg Bowl. He admitted that many MSU fans probably know more about it than he does, but he does know how important this game is.
“I suspect I don’t know quite as much about it as you, to be perfectly honest. I do know that over the years, even as I was a kid, I know it was always an incredibly intense game,” Leach said. “I know it’s very meaningful to people and I know that it’s in conversation all year round. There’s not a day that I don’t hear somebody mention the Egg Bowl. So, I know it’s a very meaningful game. I also know that there’s been plenty of them that were exciting to watch, long before I was ever in the state of Mississippi. It’s exciting to be a part of it and it’s a great opportunity to have a chance to play in one.”
Leach said he’ll lean on assistants like associate head coach Tony Hughes, director of recruiting communications Rod Gibson and defensive analyst Jamar Chaney for advice on how to prepare for the biggest annual game in the state of Mississippi.
“We definitely want to celebrate the past and then help utilize that for our foundation moving forward for the future. Everybody who’s been here and helped build this place, we want to draw what we can from it,” Leach said. “The toughest thing is you have to do it in a really succinct fashion. You can’t just pause in the middle of practice and touch 40 bases or something like that. But we definitely want to recognize and make sure that everybody understands they’re an important part of the history of this, and we have to make ours now.”
Following Saturday’s 31-24 loss at Georgia, Leach said in his postgame press conference that it was MSU’s best played game by a significant margin. Leach was asked if he sensed a mentality change since that game.
“We just have to keep working hard. I don’t think we’ve hit our potential yet. I think that we’re a group that’s young enough that we’re definitely going to change to the positive,” Leach said. “That’s where the biggest strides come is when the younger they are, the more they’re developing and we’re right there. All of our points last week were scored by freshmen. We need to just keep working, keep developing, keep getting better and create some depth to our positions.
Saturday’s contest features two of the biggest names in college football in Leach and Lane Kiffin. Kiffin’s Ole Miss offense is ranked No. 1 in the Southeastern Conference at 564.9 yards per game. Leach talked about his relationship with him.
“I guess we both know Monte [Kiffin]. Lane knew Monte Kiffin first and then I met Monte. Monte introduced me [to his son] Lane, so, I guess we’re both mutual friends with Monte,” Leach said. “That kind of brought us together. Just over the years seeing him around coaching and spending time with him. I mean, he’s an enjoyable guy. The worst thing, especially in this day in age, and then coaching for life or anytime that you’re doing something as repetitious as football, you try to avoid as many boring people as you can. Lane’s not boring, so I’ve always been excited to spend time with him.”