OXFORD, Miss. — This is a information bulletin for these of you who might have spent the final six months residing underneath a rock, hibernating in a cave or wandering the desert investigating life’s biggest mysteries:
Ole Miss soccer coach Lane Kiffin received a canine.
His title is Juice. He is a 5-month-old golden English lab. And, unwittingly, he is turn into the brand new face of Rebels soccer.
Juice’s star energy cannot be overstated. He is amassed greater than 17,000 Twitter followers, greater than each Rebels participant besides operating again Zach Evans. Ole Miss named its final recruiting weekend earlier than preseason practices “Juice Fest” and snagged 4 commitments in his honor. Juice will get to run round Ole Miss practices with a GoPro digital camera strapped to his again.
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“I feel numerous issues in my profession perhaps seem to be they’re deliberate after they come out,” Kiffin mentioned. “This was not. It appears fairly sensible. The canine is a recruiting software. ‘School GameDay’ has already been right here for a particular on him every time they go on. He has a Twitter and Juice Fest and all that. However this was simply my daughter wanting a canine.”
Come September, it’d hardly be a shock if Juice leads the Rebels down the Stroll of Champions and out of the tunnel at Vaught-Hemingway earlier than video games and wishes his personal get-back coach to remain kenneled on the sideline throughout the motion.
Why not? He is already an honorary member of the quarterback room.
“He is all the time within the conferences, stuff like that,” quarterback Luke Altmyer mentioned. “He is all the time in there, operating round, making his rounds. … He is an superior little lab.”
“Making an attempt to look at movie and having a canine chew in your shirt or attempting to eat your meals, that is one thing I do not assume you may get anyplace else,” fellow quarterback Jaxson Dart added.
On Aug. 1, Juice began a coaching camp of his personal, enrolling at Wildrose Kennel for obedience coaching. Kiffin is the primary to confess Juice is not that well-behaved but. Receiver Jordan Watkins mentioned he remembers Juice following Kiffin round and biting on the coach’s ankles earlier than an offseason coaching exercise when Juice was a pet.
Two days after Juice began at Wildrose, Kiffin’s squad started preseason practices. And oddly, he began to note the similarities between coaching a canine and training an SEC workforce within the switch portal period.
“We’re brining him in and rapidly he is round different canines and the way properly he is skilled has rather a lot to do with how he does across the different canines and him not being distracted,” Kiffin says. “I used to be like, ‘You guys are going by means of the identical factor we’re going by means of whenever you deliver folks in your group, transfers in, getting them to purchase in.’ This is the pet he is bringing in with all the opposite canines who’ve been skilled the entire time and he is not listening; I really feel like that is sort of much like our transfers.”
Now that Kiffin’s youngsters are again in class, the duty of taking care of Juice has fallen on his shoulders. Juice even sleeps in Kiffin’s mattress at evening.
Their rising relationship is apparent. Throughout a water break at Monday’s follow, Juice was let off his leash. He darted round, on the lookout for water and a spotlight, till he heard a whistle. Then, with the instincts of a operating again breaking free previous the secondary, he made a beeline for Kiffin almost 40 yards away.
He bumped into Kiffin’s outstretched arms. Kiffin informed Juice to take a seat. It took two tries, however the canine listened. That is every week of obedience coaching at work.
The saga was captured on Juice’s GoPro and posted to his Twitter account. Inside 90 minutes of going stay, the video had been watched greater than 15,000 instances. By comparability, a 35-second video of highlights from the primary day of follow posted to the Ole Miss soccer Twitter account solely attracted 14,000 views in every week.
It’d sound bizarre or unconventional or flat-out foolish, however a pet is establishing himself because the Rebels’ most marketable star.
The Rebels’ different gamers are simply rolling with it.
“I feel right here, in our tradition, it is not bizarre,” defensive finish Jared Ivey mentioned. “That is simply us.”
Contact Nick Suss at 601-408-2674 or email@example.com. Comply with @nicksuss on Twitter.