Ole Miss football practice report: scouting the cards
OXFORD, Miss. — With four days left until Ole Miss football’s season opener against Louisville, expectations from media and fans alike have reached a fever pitch. From preseason accolades, watch lists and early season predictions among other things, the Rebels look to explode in year two under head coach Lane Kiffin.
Team leaders Matt Corral and Jaylon Jones expressed their excitement to play in front of a raucous Mercedes-Benz Stadium when meeting with the media following Thursday’s practice.
A big chunk of the offseason hype has centered around Corral in particular, after throwing for 3,337 yards and 29 touchdown passes a year ago. Talks of being a potential Heisman candidate have swirled as well, but Corral isn’t letting any of the talk get to him. Kiffin and staff have also played a part in making sure he’s level headed.
“I don’t think it’s going to be something I’m going to be looking at. We don’t talk about it. They talk about how much I suck, so it’s all good,” Corral said laughing.
The good news for Corral going into Monday’s game is that the pressure won’t all fall on his shoulders, thanks to a handful of reliable running backs to turn to at any given moment, a group of receivers that bring experience to the table. Even the offensive line has depth with all their puzzle pieces in place.
“We’ve got a lot of depth now,” Corral said. “That’s big. A lot of guys are back in spots they came here to play in. Ben Brown is back at guard and that’s big. Ben is elite. I’m looking forward to seeing these guys go to work.”
Defensively, the Rebels will also be dealing with a quarterback capable of making plays in a variety of ways. Louisville’s Malik Cunningham brings a skillset similar to another former Louisville quarterback, Lamar Jackson, with his arm and legs.
“Dual-threat, not exactly like Lamar, but he’s close to it,” Jaylon Jones said. “You have to respect his feet. You have to respect his arm. The dude can throw. He’s a good quarterback. As long as we can contain him, we’ll have a good day.”
Jones will look to do so playing corner instead of safety this time around. Like parts of the offense, the defense boasts good depth as well as versatility in order to get the job done.
“We are blessed this year to have a lot of depth,” Jones said. “We’ve got a lot of depth in the safety room and the corner room. We’ve got a lot of guys who can play, a lot of the young guys are coming along.”
As of Thursday, the Rebels are favored by just over a touchdown. However, Jones isn’t a believer of games being played on paper. To him and his teammates, it’s about what’s on the field and the preparation it took to do it.
“We know what we’ve been doing this offseason,” Jones said. “We know what we’ve got and how hard we’ve been working. We are ready to show everybody what year two can do.”
Kickoff for the 2021 Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game against Louisville is set for 7 p.m. CT and will be nationally televised by ESPN.
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