| NEWS Why Ole Miss will emerge as biggest threat to Alabama in the SEC West during 2022 college football season- CBS Sports

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Lane Kiffin is entering his third season as the coach at Ole Miss, and he's tasked with sustaining the success for which the groundwork was laid last season when the Rebels went 10-3 and made the Sugar Bowl for the first time since the 2015 season. If he's going to sustain that success, though, he'll have to do it without former star Matt Corral, who will be one of the first quarterbacks off the board in the upcoming 2022 NFL Draft. Also gone are running backs Jerrion Ealy and Snoop Conner, as well as wide receivers Dontario Drummond and Braylon Sanders.

Translation: Kiffin has some work to do. But luckily for Ole Miss fans, most of it is already done.

Kiffin lured Jaxson Dart away from USC to succeed Corral and lead the Rebels offense after Dart threw for 1,353 yards and nine touchdowns in six games last season for the Trojans. That's not a bad resume, but Dart also has some competition from veteran Luke Altmyer. The result is a healthy culture of competition that championship-caliber teams need.

"I know it's kind of coach-speak. Both guys have made a lot of plays. It's a good competition," Kiffin said earlier this month. "Without getting into too much depth, Jaxson has made more plays down the field, but he's made more mistakes, too. Luke has been a little more consistent that way. Probably what would happen knowing one guy's been in the system longer, so we'll see."


Kiffin also convinced former five-star running back recruit Zach Evans to move to Oxford from TCU after he rushed for 648 yards and five touchdowns in six games. Former SMU star Ulysses Bentley (610 yards, four touchdowns) has also found a new home with the Rebels. They will be the leaders of a revamped running back corps without Ealy and Conner in the mix. Ole Miss lost more than 90% of its rushing production over the offseason, but Evans appears to be ready to shoulder most of the load.

Kiffin talked about Bentley and the running back room earlier this month after practice.

"We've lost our top three running backs from a year ago, so that was a very important addition," Kiffin said of Bentley. "I think he did some great things there when he was healthy. Kind of had some Devin Singletary type of runs and stuff, so unique timing with all of this and to be able to add guys and they are here today is kind of crazy. I mean I've made all of the references to we have free agency, but even we have free agency and even more to the fact that a guy's at another program a few days ago and now he's here it truly is like free agency."

As for the defensive side of the ball, sure, Ole Miss has been dreadful. It finished 11th in the SEC total defense, eighth in defensive yards per play, eighth in scoring defense, eighth in third-down conversion percentage and 10th in red zone touchdown percentage last season. Basically, pick a defensive statistic that you value and there's a pretty good chance that Ole Miss wasn't successful in that department.

However, defense doesn't win championships anymore -- "just enough" defense does. And the definition of "just enough" varies based on roster makeup, opponent and a variety of other factors.

Kiffin has molded Ole Miss into an offensive destination for high school players and potential transfers, which is exactly what any top-tier program should be in this day and age of offensive creativity. Styles make fights, and Ole Miss dictates style more than any other team in the SEC West outside of Tuscaloosa. Yes, that includes Texas A&M. The Aggies have the buzz, but the Rebels have the resume, coach, quarterback and skill players to be much more of a threat.

Can Kiffin spring the upset over his former boss, Nick Saban, and lead the Rebels to their first ever SEC West title? That's a tough mountain to climb -- one that includes jagged edges, vertical peaks and dangerous rockslides. But he has established a culture that fits perfectly into the modern age of college football, has brilliantly used the transfer portal and already has proven that he can win at a high level.

The best is yet to come, and we'll all get a glimpse of it during Saturday's spring game.
 

TerryP

Misomaniac
Ivory Club
Kiffin lured Jaxson Dart away from USC to succeed Corral and lead the Rebels offense after Dart threw for 1,353 yards and nine touchdowns in six games last season for the Trojans. That's not a bad resume,
"That's not a bad resume." It's better when you include he completed right at 62% of his passes. It's in the top 100—bottom half of that group for the 130 teams in college football—but it is top 100.

There is that five interceptions in six games; we need to decide where to put that on the resume. I think we can get away with not including the 2-4 record as a starter or losing the last four games: just background material, right? A "call for references" bullet point at the bottom.

<Stat.Rant> Interceptable Pass Rate. You get a decent idea where that's going to land with their TD to INT ratio. Out of the quarterbacks hitting the portal Dart's IPR was ranked as the highest: 9.7%. Literally, we're looking at a resume where one of every ten passes was—or at least should have been—intercepted. No matter how you choose to frame this it's a decision issue.
</Stat.Rant>

How does Dart mesh with Kiffin's style? He was making a lot of mistakes in spring camp: a 'forcing plays' mentality that leads to a lot of the big play style Kiffin likes but led to drive killing, game losing mistakes.

With me, the jury is still out on Zach Evans (should be their featured back this season.) His resume is just weird. And then there's Peagues we've watched in the Auburn program. Another interesting piece. Can Lane bring all three together? (Not discounting the idea Lane goes "conservative" with Luke Altmyer...leaning towards it at times.)
 

mando

Sideline Club
I am with you TerryP the Dart kids stats and not overly impressive. 1300 yards in 6 games (200+ yards/game) and 5 interceptions not a great resume. Now I do think Kiffin will make him better. Kiffin seems to need someone that does more like 300+ yards per game. Honestly Kiffin's issues seem to be more on the other side of the ball. What has he done there? I have not followed so no idea.
 

BamaFan334

Scholarship Club
I am with you TerryP the Dart kids stats and not overly impressive. 1300 yards in 6 games (200+ yards/game) and 5 interceptions not a great resume. Now I do think Kiffin will make him better. Kiffin seems to need someone that does more like 300+ yards per game. Honestly Kiffin's issues seem to be more on the other side of the ball. What has he done there? I have not followed so no idea.

You'd take thise stats if a true freshman were to come in after an injury to Bryce on any given year.
 

mando

Sideline Club
You'd take thise stats if a true freshman were to come in after an injury to Bryce on any given year.
Well I honestly do not know anything about the kid. Did not know anything about his situation. I am thinking what Kiffin will need out of him is more than 200 ypg and 1 interception per game.
 

BamaFan334

Scholarship Club
Well I honestly do not know anything about the kid. Did not know anything about his situation. I am thinking what Kiffin will need out of him is more than 200 ypg and 1 interception per game.

He should be able to get more than that out of Dart. He can play. He was thrust into the spotlight at USC after Slovis got hurt. Not top competition, but I think he'll do well under proper coaching.
 

alabama mike

Probably At A Ballgame
Scholarship Club
In the immortal words of that great theologian, Ric Flair, "to be the man, you have to beat the man!" Whoo! Not many people beat the man and until someone does, the SEC west and the SEC championship runs through Tuscaloosa, aka Title Town!
 

BamaFan334

Scholarship Club
People hated the numbers Jalen Hurts put up when he was QB, as a true freshman, and a Bama fan would "take these stats" when they're worse?

Compared to what WE are used to seeing, yes, it takes a little bit of being humbled to accept where we were at with Hurts then. No one knew his calm demeanor and that he was simply a winner. The sky is always falling, we see it weekly here. He still led the offense to the National Championship and left the game with the lead. Have we not spoken about how spoiled we are as Alabama fans? Hell, I have bashed the heck out of Pete Golding, and if he gave up 30 points a game and we still won a Natty, I'd be ok with that because we won. It's easy to look back and be happy, but in the moment, until the final moment, we are all uptight and want to see precision.
 

Justneedme81

Sideline Club
Ole Miss isn't going to be a threat to Alabama because of inconsistent QB. Kiffin is probably going to game manage by calling screen passes, swinging etc. He won't trust the QBs to take the game into their hand.

Looking at Ole Miss schedule: He has chance to go 9-0 when they meet TAMU. After that, November schedule is brutal:
October:
LSU - Don't think Kelly can keep up with Kiffin's offense.
TAMU- Jimbo is betting on Defense this year.

November:
Alabama - Too much talent, don't see this one a close game
Arkansas - They're legit. I can see them as a contender.
Miss State Leach is always gonna Leach. You never know.
 

TerryP

Misomaniac
Ivory Club
Ole Miss isn't going to be a threat to Alabama because of inconsistent QB. Kiffin is probably going to game manage by calling screen passes, swinging etc. He won't trust the QBs to take the game into their hand
But that inconsistency is justified! 🙃

Hearing "thrown into the fire at USC following Slovis as a true frosh" being tossed about when the same issues he had there, he's having in practices in Oxford, leaves me wondering ... 🤷‍♂️

Frankly, that story really doesn't fit. True frosh, yes.

Slovis was hurt and Dart took over for WSU. They won.
Slovis came back.
Slovis was hurt and Dart took over against AZ. They won.
Dart takes over the team: they loss four in a row to close.

Slovis was 11:8 this season before injury.

~ USC's version of DC and BB.
 

BamaFan334

Scholarship Club
But that inconsistency is justified! 🙃

Hearing "thrown into the fire at USC following Slovis as a true frosh" being tossed about when the same issues he had there, he's having in practices in Oxford, leaves me wondering ... 🤷‍♂️

Frankly, that story really doesn't fit. True frosh, yes.

Slovis was hurt and Dart took over for WSU. They won.
Slovis came back.
Slovis was hurt and Dart took over against AZ. They won.
Dart takes over the team: they loss four in a row to close.

Slovis was 11:8 this season before injury.

~ USC's version of DC and BB.

Come on man, everyone poor mouths during pre-season, who really knows what's going on. You got someone with eyes on every practice in Oxford? We heard Caleb Williams has been perfect at USC, and then we see the video of him not even knowing where to go to get to football practice. No one truly knows until the lights come on. I think Ole Miss finishes 2nd or 3rd in the West this season.
 

OldPlayer

Crimson Tide Club
I’ll summarize this and all future predictions.

1. There are teams that have the right pieces to do well, and do.
2. There are teams that don’t have the right pieces to do well, but do.
3. There are teams that have the right pieces to do well, but don’t.
4. There are teams that don’t have the right pieces to do well, and don’t.
 

TerryP

Misomaniac
Ivory Club
Come on man, everyone poor mouths during pre-season, who really knows what's going on. You got someone with eyes on every practice in Oxford? We heard Caleb Williams has been perfect at USC, and then we see the video of him not even knowing where to go to get to football practice. No one truly knows until the lights come on. I think Ole Miss finishes 2nd or 3rd in the West this season.
Well. Yes. I have eyes on practices in Oxford. I have for years dating back to the late '80's. Setting that aside ...

Kiffin has said the same thing this spring: he's not making good decisions from the position. He hasn't in the past in game situations, he's not in practice situations.

"No one truly knows until the lights come on." No one is going to disagree with you here.

On the subject at hand, the light have come on and his performance(s) have given a dim outlook.




and then we see the video of him not even knowing where to go to get to football practice.

It was his first practice. Come on.
 
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