Ole Miss football is just a few weeks away from the start of the 2022 season and held an open practice for its first scrimmage of fall camp.
Fans headed to Vaught-Hemingway Stadium to catch a glimpse of possible clues into depth charts and to see how well the countless transfers are meshing together.
After a 90 minute practice, here are five observations from Saturday’s scrimmage:
Dart is not the same Dart he was in the spring
While it’s still way too early to jump to conclusions, USC transfer quarterback Jaxson Dart has made significant improvements over these past few weeks of fall camp. Head coach Lane Kiffin didn’t mince words about the importance of this first scrimmage and how it would be used to help make decisions about the depth chart going forward.
“I think you put more weight into the scrimmage than ever,” said Kiffin, “I don’t recall scrimmages ever being more important than these coming up.”
Both Dart and Luke Altmyer made impressive throws and plays while both taking reps with the first and second team units, but Dart was able to find the back of the end zone twice without throwing an interception. He looked much more calm under pressure than he was in the Grove Bowl and seems to have figured out his spot in this Kiffin offense.
My unofficial passing stats from today's #OleMiss scrimmage:— Nick Suss (@nicksuss) August 13, 2022
Jaxson Dart: 14/17, 207 yards, 2 TD
Luke Altmyer: 13/20, 126 yards, INT
Lane Kiffin says Kinkead Dent was MVP of the day. Led two impressive TD drives with the 3s.
Whatever happens, the Running Backs will get us through
Heading into this season without a clear starting quarterback can be cause for alarm, but after watching the unbelievably explosive running back room operate on Saturday, there is no need to panic. This is obviously a very controversial take, but this just might be the best running back room in Ole Miss history. The combo of Zach Evans, Quinshon Judkins, Ulysses Bentley IV, and Kentrell Bullock will be a force to be reckoned with. Combine that with a veteran offensive line, and the Rebs are going to be putting a lot of points on the board.
Defense looks fresh with new faces and plenty of depth
Despite losing a few key starters from last season, the Landshark defense looks to be reloaded and ready to go. There is much more depth in every position group, which is the most important takeaway coming off of last season. The linebacker position was a big concern heading into the fall, and it looks like there will be no issues as of right now. They look to be working well together and all are healthy after dealing with some injuries last season. Redshirt freshman Tywone Malone had four tackles and a “sack” on the day, after not playing much in his freshman year and dealing with injuries. He missed almost all of the spring practices while playing baseball with Ole Miss but that missed time didn’t look to be an issue.
Bad snaps under center are going to be an problem
While it is still fairly early in fall camp, bad snaps across the board is something that should not still be happening. Both Altmyer and Dart had to deal with too many low or high snaps throughout the entire scrimmage. There didn’t look to be a dropped snap between either one of them, but it wasn’t a great look from a seemingly veteran line.
Elite Freshman and Transfers
As expected, the transfers are all stepping up and working well with the other players which is extremely great to see. The good news is that the freshman are doing the same thing. This isn’t new information, but cornerback and freshman Davison Igbinosun has made a huge step in the right direction, with a legitimate chance to be a starter on September 3 against Troy. He plays hard and had near perfect coverage on Saturday against the first and second units. Auburn transfer JJ Pegues also showed out at defensive tackle with two sacks in the scrimmage despite not actual tackling the quarterbacks.