The days are winding down towards the 2018 Ole Miss football season and the Rebels are now practicing for their season opener against Texas Tech.
In just 10 days and a wake up we will see the beginning of the 2018 Ole Miss football season. Ole Miss fans are excited to see what this season holds for the Rebels program. So far the Rebels have made it thru an impressive training camp relatively healthy and entered their regular season practice routine. Now with the September 1 season opener just days away head coach Matt Luke and the Rebels have turned their attention to Texas Tech.
Tuesday Matt Luke spent part of the Rebels practice in the IPF dedicated to the Red Raiders. Luke and the Rebels have been somewhat secretive when it comes to preseason exposure. There have been just a few practices open to the media and there have been no open scrimmages. However, there is news coming out of Oxford which peaks the interest of Ole Miss football fans. Thanks to our friends at OMSpirit we have reliable updates coming on a fairly regular basis.
So what have we learned from the last few days of practice? Word from the Rebels past weekend scrimmage has been positive. According to David Johnson of OMSpirit, the Rebels scrimmage was more situational with focus on the 4-minute offense and red-zone offense. It seemed coach Matt Luke was pleased with both the offense and defense in the scrimmage and wants to see how the defense will play in a game situation. Of course, we know what we are getting on offense but we all want to see just what kind of defense we really have.
More On The Defense
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With the Ole Miss offense it has been almost like hitting a reset button but there have been questions about the defense. What will the defense look like in 2018 is the biggest question for most Rebels fans. We have missed the head-hunter Landshark Defense in the past couple of seasons but are optimistic for its return this season. What is the outlook for the defense in 2018?
There has been a clear focus on defense for coach Matt Luke and his staff since last season. We saw the Rebels recruit for the defense very hard in 2018 and especially on the defensive line. We saw two new coaches added on the defense and so far in fall camp we’ve seen a tremendous amount of work being spent on making the defense much better in 2018. There have been serious position battles on defense this fall which still haven’t been won.
Defensive Depth Chart
According to David Johnson of OMSpirit, the Rebels are finalizing the depth chart which will likely be resolved by the end of the week. However, one thing we have learned from fall practice is who we expect will have significant playing time. At defensive end we can expect to see a lot of juniors Qaadir Sheppard and Austrian Robinson along with JUCO transfer Tariqious Tisdale. Also expected to be playing a lot of reps will be sophomores Charles Wiley and Ryder Anderson.
On the defense the end and tackle positions are two of the deepest groups and we are anxious to see who is slated as starters. At tackle we are expecting juniors Josiah Coatney and Benito Jones as well as JUCO transfer Hal Nothern. Expect to also see a lot of senior Ross Donnelly who has had a very good fall camp.
Some Ole Miss football fans have questions about the linebacker corps as we head into the 2018 season. Throughout the Rebels fall camp we’ve heard about serious competition from the Ole Miss linebackers and noticeable improvements being made. How good the Rebels linebackers can be will depend on the development from last season but will also hinge on the Rebels being able to stay healthy at the position thru the season.
The Rebels now have 12 linebackers on the roster but 8 of those are either true or red-shirt freshmen. Getting thru the Rebels fall camp without injuries helps this group greatly early in the season. The good news is sophomore Mohamed Sanogo had an incredible and has almost all but locked down the middle linebacker position. Also making an impact in fall camp and favorites for the outsides are sophomore Willie Hibbler and true freshman Kevontae’ Ruggs.
Thankfully the more serious injuries continue to be avoided for the Rebels early in the fall. As reported by Ben Garrett of OMSpirit, defensive tackle Sincere David (sprained MCL) and corner-back Ken Webster (hamstring) are both out right now and listed as questionable and probable respectively for the season opener against Texas Tech. DaMarkus Lodge (sprained ankle) was out of practice Tuesday but was expected to be back in practice Wednesday. Sophomore WR Braylon Sanders (hamstring) was also absent from Tuesday’s practice.
Greg Little had his ankle ‘rolled up on’ in the weekend scrimmage but was in full practice on Tuesday and is reported to be fine. Also good news from the injury front is the return of both wide receiver AJ Brown and defensive back Javien Hamilton who returned to practice. Brown and Hamilton are expected to continue to take it easy but both startersshould be full speed by the season opener. Running back DeVaughn Pennamon was back on the practice field Tuesday but is expected to be very limited until late October if then.
Well, there you have the latest news from Ole Miss football fall practice thanks to a couple of our friends at OM Spirit. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest on everything Ole Miss. Just 10 more days. Hotty Toddy!