Ole Miss Football vs Vanderbilt on October 5th, 2019 at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford, MS. Photo by Joshua McCoy/Ole Miss Athletics Twitter and Instagram: @OleMissPix Buy Photos at RebelWallArt.com
For the past several years, Lane Kiffin has been something of a lightning rod for controversy. He’s made head-coaching stops at Tennessee, USC and the NFL, along with time spent as offensive coordinator at Alabama. Now the former FAU coach takes over the helm at Ole Miss, and the school hopes the coach can get them back on the winning track.
The Ole Miss rushing offense ranked as one of the top in the country in 2019, but it wasn’t enough to help Ole Miss do better than 4-8 in the season. Quarterback John Rhys Plumlee returns, as does tailback Jerrion Ealy and three or four offensive linemen with significant starts. A young wide receiver corps remains for Plumlee, but the signal caller will have to up his passing game quite a bit to help give the Rebels a more balanced attack on offense.
While the Rebels’ offense has plenty of power and returning starters, the defense doesn’t fare as well. The defensive line is thin, as is the secondary. The Rebels do have some solid linebackers, and depending on the scheme Kiffin and company choose, that could help them. As with almost every team, not having spring practice hurt the Rebels, who could have used the time to figure out their defensive spots and install a more balanced offense.
Kiffin brought in several talented coaches to fill out his staff. While he tends to bring controversy to every team he coaches, he also has a penchant for recruiting and for winning, as well as for not being able to keep his mouth shut.
Ole Miss’ SEC schedule is brutal as the Rebels face Auburn, Alabama, LSU and Florida in their first five games. They also draw Vanderbilt in this grouping. If the Rebels can survive those games and sneak a win or two in somewhere, Kiffin’s first season will be a success.
Love him or hate him, Ole Miss has hooked their wagon to Kiffin, so only time will tell if the decision was wise.