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The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

The Other Side: A preview of the Ole Miss Rebels

CW Archive
Alabama running back Jase McClellan runs the ball during the Crimson Tide’s win over Ole Miss on Nov. 12, 2022.

The No. 13 Alabama Crimson Tide is set to take on SEC rival the No. 15 Ole Miss Rebels in Bryant-Denny Stadium this Saturday. Last week’s game against South Florida ended in a Crimson Tide victory.  The Crimson White’s Deana Nichols sat down with Cameron Larkin, sports editor of The Daily Mississippian, to discuss the matchup.    

Nichols: Alabama has struggled in the quarterback position thus far. How can Ole Miss use this to their advantage?

Larkin: Yeah, I’ve said this for a while now. I’m glad we play Bama early in the season because, again, they have that quarterback competition. I think we’re catching them early and in a time where there is confusion at the quarterback position. With that being said, I think our wide receiver group is one of the best in the SEC when we’re healthy. This week, Tre Harris and Caden Prieskorn practiced. We don’t know if they’re playing yet, but it seems like Ole Miss is getting healthy at the right time to exploit Alabama’s maybe weaker offense because of the quarterback position. 

Nichols: The offensive line has struggled a little bit to start the season. What can Ole Miss’ defense do to break through and stop the quarterback? 

Larkin: Just execution. After the Georgia Tech game, coach Lane Kiffin and a couple of the defensive players were very critical of themselves about, this defense is really good and we have Pete Golding, obviously. He used to be at Alabama and he’s really good. But it’s just about execution, putting the pieces where they need to be, and actually doing what they talk about all week. I don’t think there’s any problem with personnel because we have a lot of a good mix of returners and transfers who produce very highly at their other school. So, it’s just putting it all together as a cohesive unit. 

Nichols: Alabama is coming off a low-scoring game this last Saturday. What can Ole Miss do to keep this upcoming match low-scoring as well? 

Larkin: I think first is watch a lot of South Florida film, see what they did against Alabama, see what worked. I think putting a lot of pressure on Jalen Milroe, who I saw earlier today was announced to [be] the starting quarterback, which I thought was interesting. Just making sure that he doesn’t have an opportunity to make those explosive plays, which goes back to last year, how Bryce Young was able to do it in the Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. It’s just containing the quarterback and then letting the defense work from there. 

Nichols: Last season Alabama struggled against conference teams. How can Ole Miss use this to their advantage?  

Larkin: Yeah, once again, it’s early in the season, so I don’t think Alabama has established any confidence, especially after Texas and then the South Florida game on the road. Honestly, I do think that Nick Saban will have them prepared and confident and ready and have all the confidence whether they can beat Ole Miss. It’s just the fact that Ole Miss is seeing this Alabama team struggle so early in the season. I think mentally, they feel like they can capitalize on maybe their unpreparedness or lack of confidence. 

Nichols: Who are some key players that people should be looking out for on Saturday? 

Larkin: Jaxson Dart, our quarterback, is finally coming into his own. He just had a career high in rushing yards last week, which he said wasn’t planned, but I think it was. So, a mix between his legs and his arm, I think, can throw Alabama off. Running back … Quinshon Judkins, he hasn’t had a chance to, per se, explode yet this season. I would say, look for Ole Miss to try to tap into the run game early. With that also being said, again, there’s a lot of pass catchers for Ole Miss that are up in the air, whether they’ll play, so look out for that. 

Nichols: Building off of that, Jaxson Dart is known for using his feet and being able to run. What can Alabama’s defense do to put a stop to him? 

Larkin: Something that a lot of teams haven’t figured out yet is putting a QB spy on him constantly. I think that any time a play breaks down, Dart has the intuition to run. And I think that’s really good for our offense. But from a defensive standpoint for all of them, I would just say most of the time having a QB spy on him. 

Nichols: Alabama struggled with penalties in its last home game against Texas. How can Ole Miss use this to their advantage? 

Larkin: I think that, first of all, Ole Miss has struggled with that to start the season too. I just think that for themselves, Ole Miss needs to play a clean game because there’s a psychological aspect to penalties. And if one team is getting them and another team is getting them, Ole Miss just needs to try to capitalize as much as possible on any mistake that Alabama makes, whether it’s incomplete passes, whatever penalty may be, just stay clear themselves and let Alabama try to beat themselves with penalties. 

Nichols: Are there any last-minute thoughts or anything that you want to add at all? 

Larkin: I’m very excited for this game. I can’t wait to see what happens. I think this is a real telltale sign of who maybe might win the West. I’ve talked to a lot of people, and people are talking about maybe this is a preview of the Southeastern and West division championship. I’m excited to see the outcome. 

Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. in Bryant-Denny Stadium. The game will be broadcast on CBS.  

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