Football Practice Report: Scrimmage One Completed

Published 3:45 pm Tuesday, August 16, 2022

OXFORD, Miss. – Ole Miss football’s first fall scrimmage is in the books, film has been reviewed and the Rebels are back to the drawing boards in preparing for the first game of the season on Sep. 3 versus Troy.

Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin and Rebel offensive lineman Jeremy James and wide receiver Dannis Jackson met with the media following Monday’s practice to discuss depth of play and progress made through the first scrimmage of fall camp.

After reviewing film, coaches are able to fully see how the team has evolved thus far. With only the first scrimmage completed, there are positives to hold on to and negatives that still need work.

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“There are good things and there are bad things,” Kiffin said. “It was kind of in the middle on everything. Whether it was offense, defense, or position groups, you kind of get excited about some things and you’re still nervous about others.”

The Rebels have another scrimmage scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 20, for another opportunity to get better than the previous week.

“I’m confident where we are now,” James remarked. “To be where we want to be, I’d say we have a ways to go.”

“We still have a good, solid week where we’re still in training camp mode with another scrimmage before we start to get out in that season mode,” Kiffin stated.

A positive that came from the scrimmage was the depth of the offensive line. Many versatile players showed off their skill on Saturday, presenting the true strength that the offensive linemen can bring for the Rebels.

“We had some young guys playing really well,” Kiffin said. “That’s a good thing. I’m not saying as far as a defensive line, but there’s a pretty good argument that we are deeper than we’ve been here on the offensive line in our three years.”

Going into fall camp, the starting offensive line already seemed set with James at left tackle, Nick Broeker at left guard, Caleb Warren at center, Eli Acker at right guard and newcomer Mason Brooks at right tackle. The first scrimmage allowed Kiffin and the Rebel coaching staff to shift players around to see how they fit at different spots, as the season ahead will undoubtedly challenge the depth along the offensive front.

“I think there’s probably six or seven guys that could play all five spots for us,” James stated. “We’re going to be able to move people around as we need. We’re going to be just fine, regardless of what happens.”

“I think this is probably the most depth we have had in a really long time, or at least since I’ve been here.”

One of the most exciting factors of the talent on the Ole Miss roster would be the depth at the receiver position. The Rebel pass catchers are showing out their versatility and talent that they can bring to this season.

“I think offensively, new pieces have come together well so far,” Kiffin said. “You really just go off-hand thinking about receivers, you’ve got four guys that are new and are feeling good things … A lot of new parts that are doing good things.”

One of the receivers that Kiffin mentioned was Jackson, who is returning for his senior year, which is crucial to have with a team that has a high number of transfers. The Sumrall, Mississippi, native has 324 receiving yards and two touchdowns for his career, making him one of Ole Miss’ most productive returners the position.

“The way you’re used to roster and depth work has obviously changed,” Kiffin stated. “It’s just a massive turnover. It used to be where you had three years with guys. It’s interesting that you mentioned Dannis [Jackson] because I feel like he’s one of the few players I feel like we have. He had made some plays in the last years and continues to step up and be consistent and has a good shot to play for us.”

Ole Miss will have to replace its leading receiver for the fifth consecutive season must replace its top four reception leaders from a season ago. Even with so many new names added to the receiver roster, the relationships between the athletes have not let competition get in the middle of the purpose of the team: to win.

“I don’t think it’s like really any competition,” Jackson explained. “We don’t look at it like competition. We just look at it as getting better each and every day.”