OXFORD — After playing two games within the span of a week, the Ole Miss football team looks forward to a normal game week schedule to prepare for a big test Saturday and fix certain issues in the process.
Although the Rebels have come away with two convincing wins and rose to No. 16 and 17 in the Coaches and AP Poll, respectively, head coach Lane Kiffin was the first to point out that consistency on defense is critical ahead of their matchup with Tulane.
Last Saturday, the Rebels surrendered 17 points, forced two turnovers and even scored once on defense. However, Kiffin graded the unit a mere “okay” instead of great at Monday’s weekly presser.
“I didn’t think we played great on defense,” Kiffin said. “I thought we played okay. Two defensive ends made a lot of plays with their rush. We didn’t play well at corner with all our (pass interference calls). We have to play better and tackle better.”
Offensively, the Rebels were without another starter in Orlando Umana but still managed to rack up 630 yards of total offense with Bryce Ramsey filling the center void. Their efforts helped the Rebels to rank No. 4 among FBS schools in total offensive yards per game (599.5) two weeks into the season. However, it wasn’t always perfect up front against Austin Peay.
“We got beat in pass protection in one-on-one matchups, and the quarterback had to get rid of the ball early. So, I was not pleased with how we played up front,” Kiffin said.
This Saturday’s opponent, the Tulane Green Wave, enter the contest at 1-1 but have managed to turn heads around the country based on their offensive output through two weeks. In their first matchup, the Green Wave took top-five foe Oklahoma to the wire while putting up 50 points in the first half of last week’s game against Morgan State.
“This is a really good team, very talented, very well-coached,” Kiffin said. “Not coach-speak, you can see it in the film. When you watch them, they have really good players. You can’t all go to Alabama, Auburn and LSU. Really good-looking kids. I told our team today that if you don’t know about conferences and watch the film, watch them play, they’re an SEC opponent.”
The Green Wave average 197 yards on the ground and 293 through the air offensively. Like Ole Miss has in reigning Walter Camp National FBS Offensive Player of the Week Matt Corral, Tulane also boasts a player behind center that presents a challenge along with their offensive scheme.