Lane Kiffin has milked Ole Miss’ controversial victory inside Neyland Stadium and its chaotic ending over the last nine months.
Controversial calls and the likelihood of another heartbreaking Tennessee loss led to fans pelting the Shield-Watkins Field with trash in the final minute of Ole Miss’, 31-26, win over the Vols last fall. The most infamous objects thrown onto the field were a mustard bottle and a golf ball that hit Kiffin and the former UT coach broadcasted during his postgame interview.
Ever the entertainer, Kiffin has joked and made light of the chaos since. The third-year Ole Miss coach threw out a golf ball as the first pitch of Tennessee baseball’s sweep at Ole Miss last season and earlier this week signed a mustard bottle at SEC Media Days.
Asked whether he’s signed any golf balls or mustard bottles this offseason, Heupel quipped about the issue and shared his own frustrations over the game’s officiating.
“I didn’t sign any mustard bottles or golf balls,” Heupel said. “Maybe wish I had had a golf ball that night, you know what I mean? I’m only kidding (smiling). It was a great, competitive atmosphere, man. That’s college sports as good as it gets. Just the energy and electricity inside of that stadium for 59 minutes, man, it was special.”
The mid-October loss was the first sell out inside Neyland Stadium in years as Kiffin returned to Knoxville for the first time as a head coach.
On top of a controversial spot and forward progress call that removed a Tennessee defensive touchdown from the scoreboard, Ole Miss faked an abundance of injuries to slow down the tempo of the Vols’ high paced offense.
Heupel voiced his frustrations with the lack of rules addressing fake injuries and his opinions on how to slow fake injuries down while meeting with the local media later Thursday afternoon.
“They’re looking for some consistency of playing time for TV purposes,” Heupel said of a SEC rule proposals that would allow the clock to run on incomplete passes. “I’d start with fake cramps and trying to rule that out of the game.”
“There are a lot of different options. If you’re injured during the course of a drive player safety would say we need to make sure we take some time and truly evaluate this guy and probably keep him off the field for that drive.”
The NCAA elected not to change rules involving injuries this offseason, insuring that the issue will continue this fall.
Tennessee begins fall practice on Aug.1 and its 2022 season on Sept. 1 against Ball State.