No. 25 Ole Miss hopes Kiffin raises up program

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In his first season as Mississippi's head coach, Lane Kiffin went 5-5 last year and capped it with an Outback Bowl win over Indiana. The Rebels have 18 returning starters this season, including quarterback Matt Corral.

OXFORD, Miss. — Florida Atlantic changed Lane Kiffin.

That’s what he says, anyway.

Used to be, the Mississippi coach says, he was ego-driven. Selfish. Motivated by bettering his résumé.

After coaching FAU for three seasons, he says his motivations are now more player-based.

Kiffin didn’t intend for that to happen. He took the FAU job in December 2016 because he wanted to be a head coach again. The Conference USA school offered the best opportunity.

The perspective he gained from FAU? That was an unexpected development, one he says influences him even now, entering his second season at Ole Miss.

“FAU was my first time being at not a major program, and those kids changed me,” Kiffin said during a June interview inside his office at Ole Miss.

Not everything changed.

Lane is still Lane.

He’s among the sport’s most polarizing figures. Good luck finding a college football fan who doesn’t feel some type of way about Kiffin, a fact he acknowledges and seems to welcome.

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