So, we have another game this weekend, and maybe we’re looking at the last one that Bryan Harsin and company will coach. Maybe.
What’s the feeling around Oxford right now with Ole Miss being 6-0? Is there an expectation that this team can beat Alabama and win the West for the first time?
Well we were hoping A&M would finish the job and then the Tide lose on Rocky Top so that their matchup did not matter, buttttt we will need that head to head victory it looks like. Alabama’s offense versus the Rebel’s defense will be a fun chess match. I am not convinced our offensive line creates the running room against that Tide defense. So in a word, 6-0 is awesome, but I am not sure we are expecting to run the table and be in the playoffs.
The total offense numbers have stayed roughly the same, but there seems to be more success running the ball this year. What are the Rebels doing that’s made them so successful there?
They were second in the SEC in rushing last season, so the emphasis on running has been there, it’s just that with Corral you did not have to lean on it as much. The combo of Kiffin and Charlie Weis Jr have a track record of successful rushing offenses. Devin Singletary of the Bills was awesome for them at FAU and they were both a part of Derrick Henry terrorizing the NCAA when they were at Bama together. Kiffin isn’t running the air raid, he wants to run the ball and play off of that success.
How’s Jaxson Dart done taking over for Matt Corral? Run down the guys that we’ll be cussing out when the Rebels are on offense.
You are going to get sick of Quinshon Judkins and even more sick at Bryan Harsin for letting him out of the state of Alabama. He’s putting up video game numbers. Dart is getting the job done while at times showing his inexperience. He’s got three real weapons he’s finding early and often in Malik Heath, Jonathan Mingo and Jordan Watkins.
Defensively, Ole Miss has taken a huge step forward, allowing about 330 ypg (420 ypg allowed in 2021). The addition of Maurice Crum from WKU seems to have made an impact. How are the Rebels having success on this side of the ball?
They don’t call Kiffin the portal king for nothing. There are a lot of new faces making big impacts for the Rebs, including former Auburn Tigers Ladarius Tennison and JJ Pegues. They just found “their guys” and it’s all clicking.
The schedule hasn’t been super tough yet (but won’t get any tougher with Auburn coming in). Do you feel you’ve gotten an accurate representation of the team thus far? What scares you most about the team?
I think the Kentucky game paints a true picture of the defense and what it is capable of. But you’re right, the schedule does nothing in terms of building true confidence. Jaxson Dart’s youth and inexperience scares me most. He’s got that Matt Corral in him but with a mix of Bo Wallace, the bad Bo Wallace. As long as he progress, the Rebs will be cooking.
What’s your favorite Ole Miss win over Auburn and the loss to Auburn that sticks in your craw the most?
The vacated 2014 loss when Laquon Treadwell breaks his leg at the goaline and loses the ball is obviously as massive heartbreaker that kept Ole Miss out of the SEC title game that season. As far as wins go, well there are only 10 to choose from but I would say the 2012 41-20 victory over Auburn to snap a two year SEC losing streak for the Rebels would be my favorite as Bo Wallace was a monster that day.
It’s said that when Auburn loses to Ole Miss, we fire our coach. With that, can we have Lane Kiffin?
I am just glad he hasn’t been fired yet so that Ole Miss has a great chance to win the game! With that, hell no, respectfully.
What are your keys for Ole Miss and a prediction for the game?
The keys for Ole Miss are QB hurries on defense and the offensive line playing well. Neither happened against Vanderbilt and it was a struggle. I think this game will be more about Auburn needing a new coach more than anything Ole Miss may do. Ole Miss wins but Auburn covers the two touchdown spread.