Alabama Football: Five keys to beating Lane Kiffin and Ole Miss

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Alabama Football
Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports /

Alabama Football Key No. 3

A shootout should not be needed to win the game. If Bill O’Brien does not want to slow the Tide’s offensive pace, he could burn extra time by relying on the short and mid-range passing game and being a bit more run-heavy.

The Ole Miss defense has given up an average of more than 340 yards in three games. Three games against teams far less potent than the Crimson Tide. All the buzz coming out of Oxford about a stronger and faster defense is unproven. O’Brien should have little problem moving the chains with high success-rate play calls.

Bryce Young can make all the throws a game requires but he should not need to force the action against Ole Miss.

Crimson Tide Key No. 4

Ole Miss has a dangerous weapon in Sam Williams. He can play on the defensive line or at outside linebacker. He is not the leading tackler for Ole Miss. Linebacker and Maryland transfer, Chance Campbell is the leading Ole Miss tackler. Williams leads his team with four sacks. He has also forced two fumbles, recovered a fumble, plus a quarterback hurry and a pass breakup.

Williams is not a Will Anderson Jr. But he is very good and like Anderson, he is hard to block. He is tied for No. 7 in the FBS in sacks-per-game.  Anderson is tied at No. 132 (Will is No. 2 nationally in tackles-for-a-loss). Behind Williams in the national, sack stats at No. 12, is Zachary Carter of the Florida Gators. The Crimson Tide offensive line had lots of problems blocking Carter in Gainesville.

Whatever blocking schemes or assignments it takes, the Crimson Tide needs to neutralize Sam Williams.

Alabama Football Key No. 5

There is no doubt Lane Kiffin has held some of his offensive playbook back for the Crimson Tide. What that is might both surprise and confuse. A guess is Kiffin might use the athletic abilities of John Rhys Plumlee more. In three games, Plumlee has six carries, caught two passes, plus thrown and completed one pass.

Whatever Kiffin uses, the Crimson Tide defense must not lose composure. It also must not make it easier for Ole Miss by committing unnecessary penalties. It will not be a surprise if Kiffin tries to exploit Josh Jobes’ often aggressive pass coverage

Along with NCAA stats, other data for this post came from and

dark. Next. Week 4 SEC Power Rankings

An unanswered question is to what extent has the Alabama football staff changed play-call signals for Ole Miss. Last fall in Oxford, Ole Miss might not have stolen signals, but Lane Kiffin appeared to know in advance what the Tide defense had planned.