Ole Miss has lost two of its top offensive playmakers from a year ago. Star wide receiver Elijah Moore and tight end Kenny Yeboah were the team’s two leading receivers last year, combining for 1,717 yards and 14 touchdowns in only eight games. Now they’re both looking to make a similar impact in the NFL.
For a program like Ole Miss, losing that kind of star talent could mean significant regression from the offense. But it also could — and likely will — mean the opposite. Not only will this offense avoid regression, I believe it could actually take yet another step forward.
In the second year under head coach Lane Kiffin, the offensive system in Oxford is set up for success, regardless of the talent on the field.
But that doesn’t mean the Rebels lack offensive firepower. When looking at the returning weapons, there’s still a lot to like.
Wide receivers Dontario Drummond, Braylon Sanders and Jonathan Mingo combined for 14 receiving touchdowns last season. The group brings size, speed, and playmaking ability, and now they’ll have the opportunity to unleash those skill sets even more.
The backfield will include Jerrion Ealy, one of the better running backs in the SEC, and Matt Corral, the conference’s top returning quarterback statistically speaking. That experience will go a long way in ensuring the offense continues to move in the right direction.
If the defense can show even a little bit of improvement — one would think the only direction they can go is up — then this Rebels roster is capable of being a top-25 team and pushing either LSU or Texas A&M for the No. 3 spot in the SEC West.
And considering the 63-48 final score against Alabama in Oxford last season, we know that this squad can give even the top teams trouble. If Corral can avoid turning the ball over so often, expect more of those dog fights this season as well.
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Follow Clint Lamb on Twitter @ClintRLamb.