Rested Rebels applying ‘pro mindset’ to preparations for Alabama game
OXFORD, Miss. — This week No. 11 Ole Miss football prepares to take on No. 10 Alabama at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium Saturday. The Rebels come in with a record of 8-1 and 3-1 in the SEC, while Alabama is 7-2, 3-2 in the SEC.
Ole Miss is fresh off a bye week which was much needed; the players are rested and ready to take on a Crimson Tide team whose two losses have come on the road against SEC opponents.
Over the years many teams at the beginning of their seasons have circled Alabama on their schedule before ever stepping on the field. But the Rebels are taking a different approach.
Head coach Lane Kiffin talked about his team’s mindset going into the game.
“I’m sure it sounds crazy. We don’t sit and talk about Bama week and all that that everyone else in the country seems to do. We’ve got a lot of things to work on to get better. It really doesn’t matter. It matters that you do things really well. That’s how you win games. I didn’t notice anything different, but I’m glad I didn’t because that’s not how we train them. We don’t want to be a program like that (up and down)—oh we get up for these games but we don’t for these. That’s what I get mad at our fans for doing, so we’re not supposed to do that.“
Lane Kiffin on the Rebels’ pro mindset approaching the Bama game
Wide receiver Jonathan Mingo echoes his head coach’s sentiments.
“We always try to look at every game as important. Every game is important because it’s the next one. We’re just trying to go 1-0 each week, not looking forward, taking each week one at a time.”
Wide receiver Jonathan Mingo on the approach to playing Bama
Mingo is the Rebels’ leading receiver with 30 receptions for 664 yards and 4 touchdowns. His 664 receiving yards and 22.1 yards per catch each rank second in the SEC
Mingo was absent from last season’s game against Alabama due to an injury but is back healthy for this year’s matchup with the Crimson Tide.
“It’s a very exciting feeling. I try to look at every game as exciting because every game is important to me. It’s a good feeling to play Alabama again, it’s something I’m looking forward to.”
Not only is Mingo healthy this time around, but rested, like many of his teammates who were banged up during the grueling nine-week grind before reaching this past week’s bye.
“It was really good to see a lot of guys back healthy for the most part,” head coach Lane Kiffin said Monday.
“Obviously, we don’t go into details on individuals, but that’s the best we’ve looked in a long time—probably since the beginning of training camp to have so many guys out there moving around. So that was great.”
Lane Kiffin on the Rebels’ health after a bye week
Another benefit from the bye is the extra week it gives the Rebs to prepare for Alabama.
“We had some time during the bye to prepare for them, let everybody heal their bodies and get rested up,” Mingo added.
Not only have both of Alabama’s losses come on the road to SEC opponents — but in both those games, Tennessee and LSU were able to successfully run the ball on Alabama. With that said, Ole Miss will need to also have success in the passing game to take some of the stress off the dynamic running attack of Quinshon Judkins and Zach Evans.
Jonathan Mingo and his fellow receivers will look to bring their best against an Alabama defense that has allowed an average of 200 passing yards a game this season.
Ole Miss and Alabama kick off at 2:30 CT Saturday at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford.
Nick Filipich was born and raised in Biloxi, MS. He is an Ole Miss alum with a degree in Sports and Recreation Administration. A sports junkie with a great passion for all things Ole Miss, Nick played baseball and football in high school — which is where he discovered his love for sports. He is an avid Braves and Saints fan, and in his free time enjoys spending time with family, friends and his black lab, Dixie.