Ole Miss football has an abundance of riches at the safety position. The Rebels have three absolute studs and their wealth of talent makes it difficult to decide who gets to start.
So they don’t. Ole Miss’ coaching staff leaves it up to chance.
Tysheem Johnson, a former four-star recruit from Philadelphia, chose the Rebels over offers from Alabama, Arizona State, Baylor, and 32 others. He has 36 tackles through six games of his sophomore season.
Isheem Young, who transferred from Iowa State after bursting onto the scene in the Big-12, is a junior. He has 23 total tackles on the year.
Ladarius Tennison, a sophomore, transferred north from Auburn during the offseason. He also has 23 total tackles on the year.
Needless to say, they are each extremely valuable. All three guys fly around like banshees and they all deserve their snaps.
Fortunately, with how fast Ole Miss goes on offense, and how often the Rebels rotate personnel for their 3-3-5 scheme, there is plenty to go around. Tennison, Young and Johnson all get to eat.
It doesn’t really matter who starts. They will all get their due.
Thus, the decision on who gets to trot out onto the field for the first snap is mostly irrelevant. Rather than ruffling feathers, the coaching staff lets the trio make that decision for themselves.
To decide who starts, Ole Miss safeties Tysheem Johnson, Isheem Young and Ladarius Tennison play rock, paper, scissors.
The winner gets to start.
Defensive coordinator Chris Partridge explained the process before Ole Miss’ game against Vanderbilt on Saturday and it makes a lot of sense. Why would the coaching staff risk pissing one of the three off by starting the other two when they will all get equal, or at least similar snap counts?
Partridge came up with the idea, but head coach Lane Kiffin is in full support.
“Rock, Paper, Scissors, Shoot!” is no more. It’s more like: “Rock, Paper, Scissors, Start!”