Offensive Focal Points
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Although the Ole Miss offense was much better than the defense last season there were still deficiencies. Even though Jordan Wilkins rushed for 1000+ yards there were times the rushing game was lethargic. Of course, the rushing game got better as the season progressed. Much of that was a result of having more time under to gel then new offensive line coach Jack Bicknell Jr.
Of course, we all want to see more rushing production and with Wilkins gone we want to see somebody step up. Also this spring D’Vaughn Pennamon and DK Buford are both out recovering from injuries. This puts a lot of pressure on a roster which is not very deep to begin with. This offense is good enough to see two RBs get close to 1000 yards. However, it all begins up front.
This spring we want to see better run blocking up front by the offensive line. We know we have one of the largest lines in the SEC and they are very good when it comes to pass blocking. Very few times did Jordan Ta’amu have to resort to using his legs last season. Normally if he did it was because of convenience. However, run blocking was inconsistent at best.
Under The Microscope
We are watching the new influx of young running backs very closely. Because of the lack of depth we want to see how much and how fast the new guys can contribute. Early 2018 signees Juco transfer Scottie Phillips and freshman Isaiah Woullard are both participating in the spring practice and exceeding most fans expectations. However we want to see somebody step into that premier SEC running back role. Those are big shoes to fill when following a 1000 yard rusher who also had great hands out of the backfield.
On the offensive line there is not a problem with talent and definitely not with size. If anything size may be the Achilles heel for the offensive line. This line is huge and great pass blockers but last season there were obvious issues with run schemes. It may just be a personnel issue which can be corrected with specific packages for specific players or combinations of players. However, with the talent level of this position group and a full season under a new coach we want to see this group get better.
We already know this Phil Longo offense has the potential to be the best passing offense in the SEC in 2018. However, we all want to see this offense get better. We want to see the Ole Miss offense live to its fullest potential as a complete unit. In order to do that we need to see more focus on a better rushing attack. Not necessarily more but more efficient. Of course, a better rushing attack benefits the passing game by keeping defenses honest and that means less pressure on your quarterback.