Everything Ole Miss football coach Lane Kiffin said about Auburn during monthlong saga

OXFORD — After a month-long saga linking him to the Auburn football coaching vacancy, Lane Kiffin is reportedly set to sign a contract extension and remain coach at Ole Miss.

Auburn has narrowed its search to Liberty coach and former Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze, according to multiple reports on Saturday.

With Kiffin's Auburn candidacy now at a close, here's everything Kiffin said related to the rumor mill dating back to Bryan Harsin's firing on Oct. 31.

Nov. 26: Reports emerge that Lane Kiffin is set to stay at Ole Miss

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Nov. 24: Lane Kiffin talks to media after Rebels lose Egg Bowl

On whether he anticipates being Ole Miss’ coach next season:

"Yes, I do."

On whether he anticipates being Ole Miss’ coach next season if Auburn offers him the job:

"I do."

On whether Auburn reports were a distraction:

“I think when it was falsely reported by Jon (Sokoloff), who is now famous — congratulations — that you can just write whatever you want. I would do it too, I think, because you’re never held accountable and you get to become famous. Maybe you’ll be right. Jon did it, so then I had to have a team meeting to say his article was wrong. Which, would love to know these unnamed sources from Jon. So yes, I had to have a team meeting because of that. When there’s other stuff and chat rooms and all that stuff — when a reporter writes it, it changes the game with it."

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Nov. 21: Kiffin at his weekly press conference. Later, he addresses reports that he's bound for Auburn.

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On if he’s concerned about how players are handling the rumors and if it impacts their performance:

"I think about that. I've asked our coaches, 'Do you think that is an issue?' They've said, 'no.' Like analytics, we study the past. We played in the last game at FAU in a conference championship, and that morning ESPN leaked that we were the head coach at Ole Miss and the entire team knew and we went out and won by 40. These same questions were there the same week we were one play away from beating Alabama, so not much analytics to show that would matter about player performance."

On whether his players ask him about coaching rumors:

"They don't. They know how we operate, and they've been in this before so they don't even ask. They know how we do things here. Pro mindset of preparing every day to get better and win. I don't know what else to say. I'm extremely happy here. Like we just talked about, the difference in where this program is now compared to three years ago. We feel that we have really good support. I can get up here and give you, whatever it was, the Pine Box speech, 'I'm not going to be the next head coach at Alabama.' I can give you those things. I don't know what those mean. I don't know what else to say. Been here three years and been fortunate enough — I guess now I have three different contracts. So I don't know why all of a sudden a fourth contract makes people feel better. Like I said, we're very appreciative of everything here."

Nov. 19: Kiffin talks about rumors after a blowout loss at Arkansas

On what the future holds for him and what the future holds for Ole Miss given reports he’s Auburn’s No. 1 target:

"I love being here. I don’t wanna look to next year already with another regular-season game, but it’s not one of those years where you say, ‘Oh, we’re going to lose all these guys.’ There’s a lot of people coming back, offensively especially. Very excited about the future. I don’t know about that No. 1 stuff out there. Maybe if they watched the first half I wouldn’t be No. 1 anymore.”

On whether he felt his team was negatively impacted by rumors connected him to the Auburn job:

"I don’t know. Lot of analytics about Alabama hangovers. Ask LSU that came in here last week and scored 13 points against these guys. So, maybe there was some of that. I think really we didn’t play well on defense. We didn’t play well on offense in a lot of areas."

Nov. 7: Kiffin at weekly press conference before Alabama game

On whether he talks about coaching rumors with his team:

"I don't, and maybe I'm wrong for that. Just never have. Our players... we tell them 'pro mindset.' We're here to work and get better every day and worry about what we can control. We don't even talk about that."

Nov. 2: Kiffin is asked about the Auburn job on the SEC coaches teleconference

On whether he would be interested in joining Auburn if they reached out:

"We don’t really comment on those things. They happen every year a lot of times. All they are is a product of players performing well and assistant coaches. We’re extremely happy here. Got something really special going. Have great support here from the administration and the chancellor. Just trying to get better to get ready to play the best program in the last 10 years of college football (Alabama) coming in here.”

On Deion Sanders’ potential candidacy at Auburn and elsewhere:

“I think he would do great. I think that’s a great name. (Auburn) should hire him. Great recruiter. Great name. This is a different world we’re in now because recruiting has always been important, but now you have the portal. You can change a roster faster than you ever could before. You can lose a roster faster than you ever could before. The ability to hire Deion and have that name right away, and portal people wanting to come play for him right away, you can flip a roster. Where before, realistically it would take two to three years to truly turn a roster around, you can do it immediately. You see teams get depleted and then just look completely different the next year like our team. Picture our team without the portal and take those guys out of there, and look what it looks like.”

Oct. 31: Kiffin holds his weekly press conference shortly after Harsin is fired

On how he addresses rumors with his team and recruits:

“I never do with the team, never have. Recruits, you deal with that all the time. I would guess any time that you've probably taken jobs and haven't been at one place forever, I bet every coach gets that. I get that all the time from recruits. That's just part of it. Recruiting is competitive. That gets used against us. We've been dealing with that for a long time. It'll be nothing new."

On what it says about the coaching field that Auburn fired Bryan Harsin two years into his tenure:

"We were in meetings, so I actually didn't know that. When you've been through something like that, you obviously have empathy for people. It is what it is in the profession. I'm not complaining, because this profession gets paid a lot of money, and it's part of it. When everybody roots for everybody to get fired and, ‘Oh it's so great and everything,’ it's not just that person, it's a ton of people besides his family — a lot. Especially because the staffs have increased now where kids are uprooted from schools and all those things. I understand why fans root for it, I get it all, but there's a very personal side to it with a lot of adults, kids, who, when something like that happens, are going be affected."

David Eckert covers Ole Miss for the Clarion Ledger. Email him at deckert@gannett.com or reach him on Twitter @davideckert98.

This article originally appeared on Mississippi Clarion Ledger: Everything Ole Miss football coach Lane Kiffin said about Auburn job