With five minutes and two seconds left in the first quarter against Central Arkansas, the Ole Miss offense had run eight plays, the score was 21-0, and the visitors understood they were in NOT GREAT, BOB territory.
From there, things did not improve. In fact, their first-half drive chart ranked 10 Iowas out of 10 Iowas:
The point I’m making here is that we didn’t learn a lot from such a mismatch, other than if you snap a punt over the punter’s head against this Ole Miss team, the Rebels will run it back for a touchdown 100 percent of the time.
However, after the first road test of 2022 on Saturday, fans will know much more about this team and who they might become. Not that Georgia Tech is a scary team*, but it’s a road game for an offense that’s still figuring it out, and it’s college football, where a thunderstorm of SPICINESS can erupt at any time.
*If you peruse various power ratings for gamblin’ purposes, most models have Georgia Tech in the same neighborhood as Troy. If you watched their Labor Day game against Clemson, you may recall the Yellow Jackets have an offense that does a lot of coughing and sputtering.
As we make the turn to the serious portion of the schedule, let’s do our review.
What We Know
Lane Kiffin loves nothing more in life than answering questions about quarterbacks
Well, okay, fine. That’s somewhat of a lie. Okay, fine, a huge lie.
If you watch his press conferences and that question is asked, he has the face of a man who is internally screaming, followed by asking sweet little tiny baby Jesus to release him from this prison of repetition.
Officially, no starter has been named for Saturday. Officially. Wink, wink, nudge nudge.
Kiffin, as all good maniacal coaches do, wants to make sure Georgia Tech spends time preparing for both quarterbacks. Even if it’s most of the week on one of them and 10 minutes on the other, the page in the analytics book says: EDGE.
As I said last week, they’ve got until October 1st to work through it. If Ole Miss needs elevated quarterback play to beat Georgia Tech or Tulsa, there are bigger problems out there!
Defense keeps on keeping on
As expect, a Lane Kiffin Ole Miss team features a defense playing at a high level since the beginning of November in 2021. I know it’s Central Arkansas, but Ole Miss played a ton of guys on Saturday and gave up 3 points, but more impressively, only 3.3 yards per play.
That’s good enough to earn an official SICK rating.
Same idea, different Michael Trigg touchdowns
Our Southern Cal transfer son piled up 3 touchdowns last Saturday, and it was all via the same idea: get him in a race to the flat with a linebacker or safety (and definitely not a pick involved).
On his first touchdown, he sets up between the left tackle and guard.
The play calls for him to come across the formation to his right, as if he’s going to block either the unblocked defensive end or linebacker, who is eyeballing the play action look Ole Miss gives them. HOWEVAH, he is supposed to fake the block attempt and release into the flat.
Upon seeing the linebacker go all in on the run, Luke Altmyer pulls the ball, and that’s an easy 6 points.
On the second touchdown, the faux blocking returns. This time he lines up next to the left tackle. The plan is for him to initially start to block down, but spin and release into the flat.
I failed to note it in the first example, but the outside receiver is going to set NOT A PICK (KIND OF A PICK) since the ball should be behind the line of scrimmage.
Central Arkansas’ blitz throws the timing off here, but he’s once again wide open. Altmyer did a great job of keeping the play alive and eventually finding him for the touchdown.
The third touchdown was similar to the first touchdown. Ole Miss uses pre-snap jet motion to drag one defender away, and Trigg comes across the formation as soon as the ball is snapped.
As in the first two touchdowns, the outside receiver sets NOT A PICK on the defender chasing Trigg, and the touchdown hat trick hits.
I would assume we’ll see versions of this again because these are really hard plays for defenders to diagnose, and I would expect, now that they’re on film for opponents, we’ll see a wrinkle or two off of them.
What We Kinda Know
Jaxson Dart’s second act
Despite what Kiffin is telling Georgia Tech, anyone who watched the Central Arkansas game knows Altmyer wasn’t right after [insert speculation] to his [insert additional speculation]. Now, it’s entirely possible he’s ready to go by Saturday, but all indications are Dart will get his second start.
While not officially official, many people are willing to wager monies that Dart starts and plays the entire game (barring disaster). As stated multiple times above, it was Central Arkansas, but Dart looked much better (minus one bad series in the second half) than second-half Dart against Troy.
He should have another opportunity to make the position his, but he has yet to leave no doubt.
The Season - Central Arkansas (2022)
Cinematography by Roger Deakins
Directed by Sam Mendes
What We Don’t Know
Road trip vibes
As Kiffin noted in his Monday press conference, it’s the first road trip as part of the Ole Miss program for a significant chunk of the roster. He talked about the new experience it will be for them, and there’s uncertainty as to how they will respond.
That applies to the details once they get to Atlanta, and when the first bit of adversity pops up on Saturday, and the assembled Georgia Tech faithful start hollerin’ equations and shit. What happens then? We don’t know!
As I said earlier, Georgia Tech is not good, and many are saying they are butt. If given the chance to end the game early, will this Ole Miss team knock them out and start shoveling dirt? Or will we have an extended period of unnecessary stress? Who knows! But an outright throttling of Georgia Tech would tell us a lot more about who this team is.