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Ole Miss having “issues” with COVID-19 for first time since fall camp

COVID-19 has affected several Southeastern Conference teams this week, and Ole Miss is the latest to be added to the list.

During his Wednesday press conference, head coach Lane Kiffin said his team is having what he called “issues” with COVID-19 for the first time since fall camp. The football program went four weeks without a new positive test before this week.

“For the first time, we are having issues with that,” Kiffin said. “We have a number of guys out. I’m not going to get into numbers. We have not had that in-season. We had that during camp. This is the first time dealing with it in the season.”

The Rebels’ game in Fayetteville against Arkansas on Saturday (2:30 p.m. CT, SEC Network) is still on as of Wednesday afternoon. Kiffin said they could “play today,” but they will have to keep those players healthy and avoid further positive tests for a few more days.

A decision to postpone and reschedule the game would have to come sometime before Friday, when the team would presumably travel to Arkansas.

The positive cases have caused a shift in where players have been practicing this week, according to Kiffin. He would not say where the outbreak may have originated, but said he did not believe it started while the person was in Oxford.

“It’s very difficult,” Kiffin said. “And we’re beat up, too, from the high play count and intense game versus a great team on Saturday. We’re not in a great place number-wise at all.

I said Monday in our first meeting, ‘It just got real.’ So anytime you talk about things, it doesn’t hit home until it happens to you. Now they’re seeing it and seeing depth charts move and people have to change positions and different things. I hope it really was a better reminder. Only takes one person to really screw it up.”

Earlier this week, Vanderbilt’s game at Missouri was postponed to the built-in bye week of Dec. 12 due to an outbreak in the Commodores team. On Tuesday, it was revealed that at least 19 players on Florida’s team had tested positive and head coach Dan Mullen confirmed on Wednesday that two assistant coaches had tested positive. The Gators’ game against LSU was also postponed to Dec. 12.