From the Vaught: Ole Miss Defense Shines During Saturday’s Practice
OXFORD, Miss. — The Ole Miss football team held its weekly Saturday practice at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, working out for about two hours, open to the public. Spring camp will culminate April 24 with the Grove Bowl, the first since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
After the Rebs finished stretching and completing their individual position-drill period, they practiced down and distance.
On the first play of the period, starting quarterback Matt Corral launched the ball at least 30 yards and was almost intercepted on a great play by rising junior A.J. Finley. That play seemed to set the tone for the rest of the day as the Landshark defense flourished and flew all over the field for the rest of the day.
The Ole Miss offense, as you may recall, is missing wide receivers Dontario Drummond, Brandon Buckhaulter and Jahcour Pearson to injury. First unit receivers Saturday include Dannis Jackson, Jadon Jackson, Qua Davis, and Jonathan Mingo, who is back at full speed after injury.
The Rebs are short-handed at tight end as Casey Kelly (out for spring with ACL), Chase Rogers, Jonathan Hess and Hudson Wolfe are all out.
Despite being without some of his targets, Corral looked strong and in control of the offense.
Then came time for both second teams (defense and offense) to compete.
The second team defense went to work, quickly stripping QB Kinkead Dent on the second play of their series and returning the recovery for a touchdown.
On the ensuing drive, Dent and the offense marched all the way into the red-zone and were at about the five-yard-line before rising freshman defensive back Markevious Brown helped complete the stop with two passes defended on third and fourth down. Brown, from IMG Academy, will certainly be one of the younger guys to keep your eyes on next season.
True freshman QB Luke Altmyer also looked crisp in his time on the field.
Overall, it was a very nice showing from a defense that struggled in a challenging 2020 season. As they have described in their weekly press conferences, the defensive players are showing energy and passion on each play. The upcoming season should be fun to watch!
See you at the Grove Bowl!
(Feature image: Josh McCoy, Ole Miss)