What You Need To Know About The Ole Miss Offense
– Eight starters are back for offensive coordinator Phil Longo to work with, and once again, the SEC’s second-best offense – averaging 462 yards and 33 points per game – should be ready to roll. The Rebels will once again push the tempo, they’ll throw it all over the yard, and if it all works as expected, they should win their share of shootouts.
– The passing attack that led the conference – remember, Drew Lock and Missouri were amazing, and Ole Miss did more through the air – is loaded.
Four of the top five targets are back, starting with All-SEC performer A.J. Brown, DaMarkus Lodge and D.K. Metcalf all big deep threats who combined for 25 touchdown grabs. Van Jefferson transferred to Florida, but the Rebels still have one of the SEC’s best receiving corps.
Getting to use all the talent is Jordan Ta’amu, a former JUCO transfer who stepped in for an injured Shea Patterson and threw 11 touchdown passes with four picks. There’s talent behind him – freshman Matt Corral is the heir apparent – but expect close to 4,000 yards no matter who’s under center.
– The running game was along for the ride. Jordan Wilkins is done after leading the way with 1,011 yards and nine scores, but D’Vaughn Pennamon and Eric Swinney are back after getting their feet wet as sophomores. They’re big, physical backs who can pound for the hard yard, and Ta’amu can take off and run, too.
Paving the way is a good-looking line with four starters returning around all-star tackle Greg Little. The experience is in place, but the blasting for the ground game has to come, and pass protection has to be a whole lot better.
Biggest Key To The Ole Miss Offense
It would be nice if the offensive side cared a wee bit about controlling the clock. That’s not how the Longo works, and the idea is to always keep the pressure on and keep things moving. However, with a shaky defense that got lit up way too often – and needs a big rest now and then – keeping the ball for just 25:12 is a problem.
It’s not that the Rebels have to slow down – they won’t – but as long as they’re going on longer drives and converting on more third down drives, the more help the other side gets.