Alabama football will face five dangerous players in Lane Kiffin’s Ole Miss offense.
The Alabama football defense will face more than offensive wizardry concocted by Lane Kiffin. Lane also has dangerous weapons on his offensive roster. How well the Crimson Tide defense does against those scoring threats will be telling.
Lane Kiffin learned football from more than his father, Monte Kiffin. His dad was a top defensive coach for decades. Probably more impactful for Kiffin was his time working for Pete Carroll and Norm Chow at USC. Steve Sarkisian was also on those USC staffs and had more experience and responsibility than Kiffin. There is no doubt Kiffin kept learning in 2007 as the NFL’s youngest head coach at 31 years of age.
The draft bust of No. 1 pick, JaMarcus Russell produced a 4-12 Oakland Raiders record. A byproduct was Kiffin’s dismissal early in the 2008 season. The four-plus seasons as a college head coach at Tennessee and USC, plus his Oakland stint led to Lane being labeled an unpredictable, unrepentant, failure. Learning from failure is one mark of intelligence. When Nick Saban hired Kiffin as a consultant in late 2013, Nick clearly respected Lane’s offensive mind.
The professional relationship between Saban and Kiffin offered redemption for the younger man. It also paid off for Alabama football. How sharp the Kiffin offensive mind is will be tested Saturday night. The Alabama football defense will also be tested because Kiffin has weapons at Ole Miss.
Kiffin will dress his Ole Miss offense in many looks, trying to confuse the Crimson Tide. At times, the Tide will undoubtedly fail to make the correct read or recognize what to do, too late to stop it. The Crimson Tide defense will have a backstop from a Tide offense Ole Miss has little chance of slowing and no chance of stopping.
Most Dangerous Ole Miss Players for Alabama Football Defense
- Quarterback Matt Corral -Corral’s passing is the biggest Ole Miss threat. Statistically, Corral is one of the best in the nation, averaging 357 yards per game. He can also run and is actually the leading rusher for Ole Miss in terms of carries. Corral is a legit dual-threat quarterback, the kind of QB Alabama football defenses have struggled with at times in the past. He has accounted for over 800 yards of Ole Miss offense this season.
- Running Back Jerrion Ealy – Ealy is the leading rusher for Ole Miss and is also a pass-receiving threat. He was recruited by the Crimson Tide and is capable of explosive plays. Ealy splits time with bigger Ole Miss running back, Snoop Conner who should not be taken lightly.
- Wide Receiver Elijah Moore – Moore is the leading Ole Miss receiver with 123 catches in his career for 1,567 yards. In the two 2020 games, Moore has 319 yards and leads all SEC receivers. Nick Saban compares Moore to Jaylen Waddle.
- Wide Receiver Jonathan Mingo – Ole Miss fans compare Mingo to A.J. Brown. Like Brown, the tall, physical Mingo can be a tough cover. He had a career-high eight receptions for 128 yards against Kentucky.
- All-Purpose John Rhys Plumlee – Former starting quarterback, Plumlee has new roles in Kiffin’s offense. He will line up in the slot and part of two-back sets with Corral and Ealy. He rushed for over 100 yards against the Crimson Tide last season. Passing is not Plumlee’s strongpoint, but Kiffin will not hesitate to let him throw as a running back, hoping to catch the Tide defense unprepared.
The Ole Miss game will measure the Crimson Tide defense’s ability to get off the field after third down. In two games the Crimson Tide is No. 66 in 2020’s smaller FBS field, allowing opposing offense first downs on 54.5 percent of plays. That is 66 out of 75 FBS teams, already having competed this season.
When the Alabama football season stats are updated following Ole Miss, Bama Hammer will do a deeper dive into the important third-down stat discussed above. We will also compare the Tide’s performance to the Georgia defense.