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Raiders Coach Kiffin has been at the Hospital
Oakland Raiders Coach Lane Kiffin was hospitalized on Monday due to a viral infection and might not attend team practices and activities until later this week. Kiffin has been at the Queen of the Valley Medical Center since Monday morning for tests and observation. According to Greg Knapp, offensive coordinator, “This morning when he woke up, from what I understand, he was feeling under the weather. (It's) something he's been fighting for the last two or three days.” Kiffin who is 32 years of age, brought the Oakland Raiders to a 27-23 victory against Arizona Cardinals on Saturday in his first game as an NFL head coach and looked fine afterward but continued to feel ill. The team canceled a scheduled conference call between Kiffin and reporters on Sunday.
The team of Lane Kiffin returned to practice yesterday, and some players were not even aware Kiffin, the youngest coach in the league, was absent until they took the field.
Furthermore, Coach Lane Kiffin underwent more tests in the hospital Tuesday. The hospital is not giving out information on his condition and the Raiders have only said Kiffin “hopes to be back soon.” He is expected to return in time to coach Saturday's exhibition game against the San Francisco 49ers.
Quarterback Andrew Walter said his coach would “have to be pretty sick not to be out here,” and the team would try to go on like nothing had changed. “He brings a lot of energy,” said Walter. “We miss having him out here. I hope he's doing better. He definitely sets the tempo for us. He would want us to have good practices even though he's not out here and that's what we're trying to do.”
The practice is organized by offensive coordinators Greg Knapp and defensive coordinator Rob Ryan; however, most of the drills had been planned out by Lane Kiffin well in advance. Practice appeared to be sharper and tough Tuesday morning than it was the previous day, Kiffin's first away from the team. The Oakland Raiders had another practice scheduled for Tuesday night and the team did not know when Kiffin would return. “Training camp is really structured from the get go,” said Greg Knapp. “We plan it out before we get here quite a bit. We will tweak it as time goes on. There's a good plan in place so you don't have to have a lot of adjustments right now. And even these first couple of preseason games we're still in training camp mode not in game plan mode. It's planned out pretty well ahead of time with Lane.”
The absence of Lane Kiffin was easy to hear. Kiffin is usually the loudest coach on the field, yelling out instructions and creating competition between offense and defense. Kiffin also frequently orders players out of drills after they commit penalties or fumble the ball. Greg Knapp tried to play the role of Kiffin role by yelling, “get me a new tight end,” after one false start by Tony Stewart, but the ambiance was clearly different from usual. All the same, the players said Lane Kiffin’s influence could still be felt and they know he will be watching tape of the practices so they better not mess up. “He's done a great job of establishing tempo and establishing what it is that he wants,” said LaMont Jordan. “I don't think we've missed a beat since he's been gone. He needs to go on, take the antibiotics or whatever it is he needs to take to get back out here to work, we've got a long season ahead of us. I definitely look forward to playing for him.”
The Oakland Raiders is doing its best to be able to accomplish their tasks during the off-season, especially during practices. Lane Kiffin indeed is a big part of these accomplishments. Together with the team, Lane Kiffin will prove that the Oakland Raiders deserves to be called champions.
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