Previewing Alabama Football regular-season games: Ole Miss

Bama Saban And Kiffin 2016
Bama Saban And Kiffin 2016 /

Former Alabama Football, Offensive Coordinator, Lane Kiffin deserves much credit. As the Crimson Tide OC in 2014, 2015 and most of the 2016 season, Kiffin brought the Tide into the modern world of offensive football. As the Florida Atlantic head coach, Kiffin followed three seasons when the Owls won a total of nine games. During his first season in Boca Raton, FAU won 11 games.

The mercurial Kiffin has always been a crapshoot, as likely to crash and burn as he is to soar. Kiffin has failed at more places than he has succeeded. Despite all that, for more than a decade Kiffin has been respected as one of football’s best offensive minds. He showed that again last season in Oxford, MS.

As great as was the Alabama Football offense last season, Ole Miss was statistically better – at least in yards-per-game. Ole Miss was No. 3 in the FBS. The Crimson Tide was No. 4. In Scoring Offense, the Tide was better; No. 2 in the FBS. Ole Miss was No. 14.

With all that offensive firepower, Ole Miss could not manage a winning season, finishing 5-5. The problem for Ole Miss was in Total Defense, Ole Miss was almost last in the FBS. At, No. 126. Lane’s team edged out North Texas. Ole Miss was somewhat better in Scoring Defense at No. 117 in the FBS.

Alabama Football vs. Ole Miss in Bryant-Denny – Oct. 2

Will Lane’s defense be better in 2021? And will his offense be as potent? The offense that befuddled the Crimson Tide last season will be good again. The unknown is how much the defense will be improved. The top Ole Miss tackler from last season, linebacker, Jacquez Jones transferred to Kentucky. Returning nine defensive starters normally means improvement. It also should for Ole Miss this season, but the problem is many of those starters played so poorly last year, having them back is less than a normal boost. The greatest defensive weaknesses for Ole Miss last season were poor tackling and giving up chunk plays. They will have to better at both to markedly improve on their past performance.

Assuming Ole Miss will be better defensively, another shootout game might not be good for the Crimson Tide. Kiffin’s Ole Miss offense can be a big points producer again. Matt Corral might be the best QB the Tide will face. The running back duo of Snoop Connor and Jerrion Ealy is outstanding. Lane brought in transfer wide receiver, Jalen Knox to help make up for the loss of Elijah Moore to the NFL. Unfortunately, Knox will not be academically eligible this season. Senior wide receiver, Braylon Sanders will have to carry a heavy load.  Ole Miss also added an all-conference Utah center, Orlando Umana.

Next. Regular-season opponent preview: Mississippi State. dark

The Ole Miss’ high octane offense should be very good. Against an expected improved Tide defense, Ole Miss probably cannot make the 2021 game a shootout. Plus, the new Crimson Tide offense will have found its footing by October and this game should not be close.