Today may be April Fool’s Day but in 2019 Ole Miss football and coach Matt Luke with his new staff this edition of the Rebels will be no joke.
Happy April Fool’s Day Rebels fans! It’s the 1st of April and I’m sure you have seen your share of AFD jokes today or maybe little more than a good effort. The great thing about today is we have five more days before we see the 2019 edition of Ole Miss football in action. While a lot of fans are nervous about what the future of the Ole Miss football program might look like, 2019 could stand to be a be a turn around season for Matt Luke and the Rebels going forward so you may want to strap in.
While we will likely see little from coach Matt Luke and the Rebels on the offensive side of the ball under OC Rich Rod, it should be an interesting look into the future. On the defensive side of the ball the Rebels will be looking at the new 3-4 defense under DC coach Mike Mac and we can expect to see a lot of improvement from the second former power 5 head coach added as a coordinator during the offseason. Rebels fans should be very optimistic.
Rebels Will Be Much Better
Ole Miss Rebels
Despite losing a most of a starting lineup from the 2018 season, all very big losses, the Rebels have offensive talent there for the new OC Rich Rod to fill the gaps.
There are spots to fill but we have very good players who have been in practice thru the spring and more players who will be arriving in May and will be a part of the 2019 Ole Miss football season.
From what OHT has learned thru the spring is all has been progressing well for red-shirt freshman Matt Corral who we are all anxious to see back in action. Last season we watched Corral take control of the offense in games and saw his attitude on the field. Corral is the future for the Rebels at the QB position and is a very special player and from we’ve seen is a willing runner in the new offense which will be a major focus in 2019.
As equally important is the question of who will be the Rebels backup at the QB position in 2019 with Corral running the show. Freshman Grant Tisdale appears to be the second with freshman Kinkead Dent in a close race thru the spring. Both young quarterbacks seem to be learning quick and this fairs well for one of the youngest, if not the youngest, QB position groups in the nation. Rebels should keep in mind John Rhys Plumlee will be on campus in May and could really shake everything up within the depth chart.
Watching The New NWO
Naturally we know Matt Corral is a great passer and we want to see that on the field in the Vaught Saturday. While we really can’t be sure how much of the Rich Rod passing game we will see, which may not be much, these passes count from both the quarterback position and the new WRs of the NWO. The NWO lost three starting WRs from 2018 and we can expect specific players to step up in 2019 to be the belt carriers this season.
In the 2019 season the Rebels will have junior Braylon Sanders who has been in green-shirt for the spring. With that being known we can expect to see more of sophomore Elijah Moore and RS freshman Miles Battle. RS freshman Demarcus Gregory and JUCO transfer Dontario Drummond will both be a factor Saturday as well as freshman WR Jadon Jackson.
The New 3-4 Defense
On the defensive side of the ball Saturday we will see a lot of new faces. There have been several seniors who have been in green-shirt so be expecting to see some old and new faces in the new Mike Mac 3-4 defense this Saturday and heading into the 2019 Ole Miss football season.
While we know the Rebels will have one of the largest and most experienced front three in 2019 with seniors Josiah Coatney and Benito Jones with big EDGE players Ole Miss could be dominant along the defensive front.
The Rebels also have junior DE Tariqious Tisdale and senior Austrian Robinson who have both gotten bigger in the off-season and can play anywhere on the line or at the EDGE. Tisdale and Robinson should be exciting to watch this Saturday and in 2019.
The biggest attention getter in the Grove Bowl and in 2019 may be at the LB position. Junior ILB Mohamed Sanogo and senior ILB Willie Hibbler will be key this Saturday but OHT is watching JUCO OLB Sam Williams who we are hearing had an incredible spring and proved himself to Mike Mac.
Also on the outside we should be watching for junior Charles Wiley and senior Qaadir Sheppard who made the switch from DE to OLB in the new defense but can play either position. Rebels fans should also being watching for the younger LBs on the depth chart to step up on Saturday.
Who We should Be Watching
This leaves us with a beat down secondary from the spring practice with most of the walking wounded seniors. Expect a lot of new faces Saturday and some will make big plays. In the past few seasons we’ve watched as big pass play after big pass play tore down the Rebels secondary. Rebels fans should keep in mind this is a new defense in which a number of both non-conference and SEC teams haven’t seen a great deal of.
In what could have been a staff issue between joint-secondary coaches in 2018 was solved and now former Ole Miss DB great coach Charles Clark is in charge. Older Rebels can remember Clark from his playing days in Oxford and can expect this secondary to be much more physical than what we saw in 2018. The Rebels depth chart is deep to say the least but with so many DBs down who will see stand out on Saturday?
Sophomore Keidron Smith is who OHT has eyes on at the corner. Smith proved last season is an SEC defensive back and now he gets his chance to show his development thru the offseason and the spring. OHT also wants to see how the transition from LB to S has been for senior Vernon Dasher, a vicious hitter, in the new 3-4. We can expect both Smith and Dasher to do well in the new secondary on Saturday and will certainly see them both in 2019. We are also watching other DBs who can stand out on Saturday like JUCO transfer Jamar Richardson and freshman Jalon Jordan.
Coach Matt Luke and Ole Miss football will wrap up the 2019 spring practice with the annual Grove Bowl this Saturday April 6. The 2019 Nissan Grove Bowl kickoff at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium is set for 3pm CT and admission is free. This is a busy week and OHT will have a lot more coming about the Grove Bowl and the weekend events. Show up and support the future Rebels. Hotty Toddy!