Practice Report: Rebels scrimmage in the Vaught; offense shines, defense has room to improve
Offense shines, defense still needs work
OXFORD, Miss. — It was a classic case of good news, bad news after the first Ole Miss scrimmage of the fall Sunday.
The good news is the Rebels’ offense looked like it did a season ago. The bad news is the Ole Miss defense seemed to, as well.
In 2021, Ole Miss put an impressive 39.2 points per game up on the scoreboard, the defense surrendered 38.3. That trend appeared to repeat during the scrimmage Sunday at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.
“I haven’t watched the film, but impressed with first offense, running and passing,” Kiffin said.
“Not impressed with the defense. It happens when you scrimmage yourself. One side does good, and you think to yourself, ‘okay, did this side do good or did the other side do bad?‘”
Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin
No official statistics were available from the scrimmage, but it was easy to see quarterback Matt Corral was in mid-season form, throwing for two touchdowns and not surrendering an interception. Braylon Sanders, Dontario Drummond and Jonathan Mingo all grabbed passes to provide an early look at the Rebels’ receiving corps.
Running back Snoop Conner felt the offense as a whole played well.
“We had a pretty good day,” said Conner. “We were running the ball well, throwing the ball around good. The past couple of practices, the defense had the ups on us and now in this scrimmage, we came out and we balled.”
Last year’s offense averaged 555.5 yards per game to put it in the upper echelon of offenses in the nation. Conner believes Ole Miss can move the ball even better in 2021.
“If we go out there and do what we got to do, do the little things right, we can be one of the best (offenses) in the nation. It’s hard to stop that offense. (Coach Jeff) Lebby, he knows what he’s doing. Kiffin, he’s an offensive-minded guy, so it can be pretty special.”
Snoop Conner on the Ole Miss offense
Defensive work to be done
After Sunday’s performance, Kiffin knew exactly what the defense needs to work on before the season opens Labor Day.
“Poor tackling,” Kiffin said. “We worked on it yesterday. We came out and didn’t tackle well… We had a number of receivers who were banged up that were playing and weren’t able to be tackled, so a lot of it was just the running backs. The ones, twos and threes missed tackles between the linebackers and secondary. A lot to learn.”
Senior Tariqious Tisdale is ready to put the Sunday performance behind him and get back into the film room and onto the practice field.
“We’re just going to keep our heads down and keep working. I ain’t worried about what nobody else got to say,” said Tisdale.
“I know the work we put in, I know what we go through each and every day and that’s all I’m worried about is us growing every day and getting better.”
Defensive lineman Tariqious Tisdale
The Rebels have exactly 21 more days to fine tune the offense and make the needed adjustments on defense. Ole Miss opens the season at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium against Louisville, Sept. 6.
Steve Barnes joins The Rebel Walk staff as a senior writer and brings a trifecta of journalistic experience. As a writer, he has covered college sports for Rivals.com, Football.com and SaturdayDownSouth.com as well as served as a beat writer for various traditional newspapers.
He has been a broadcaster for arena football and several national tournament events for the National Junior College Athletic Association as well as hosting various shows on radio.
A former sports information director at Albany (Ga.) State University and an assistant at Troy and West Florida, he has helped host many NCAA conference, regional and national events, including serving five years on the media committee of the NCAA Division II World Series.
Barnes, a native of Pensacola, Fla., attended Ole Miss in 1983-84, where his first journalism teacher was David Kellum. The duo has come a long way since that time.
He will bring a proven journalistic track record, along with a knack for finding the out-of-the-ordinary story angles to The Rebel Walk.
Barnes continues to reside in Pensacola a mere ten minutes from the beach because he does have taste and a brain.