The Daily Mississippian’s Joshua Clayton previews Ole Miss


CW / Grant Nicholls

The Crimson White caught up with Joshua Clayton, the sports editor of Ole Miss’ student newspaper, The Daily Mississippian, to get some insight into the Rebels. Here’s what you need to know about Alabama’s opponent for its SEC home opener.

Editor’s note: Some questions and answers have been edited for clarity.

Q: How has Ole Miss tried to replace its top three wide receivers from last year, and who has stepped up to be the deep threat for the Rebels this season? 

A: This is a question the Rebels are still trying to answer themselves. Sophomore slot receiver Elijah Moore has been outstanding with 380 yards and three touchdowns this year, with a spot on the Biletnikoff Award watch list to show for it. No other pass catcher has over 100 yards in 2019. Dontario Drummond has done fine as Braylon Sanders battles a hamstring tweak, but the rest of a young receiving corps has failed to step up to the plate. 

Q: What has been different in Rich Rodriguez’s offense? 

A: Ole Miss fans had a collective sigh of relief when Phil Longo moved on to North Carolina. The sentiment around Oxford is that Longo wasted an offense stacked with NFL talent, which is hard to argue looking at the highlight plays that group of rookies has put up after just three weeks of pro ball. Rodriguez is one of the founding fathers of modern offense, and while it hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows on that side of the ball, the offense is undoubtedly more dynamic and less predictable. 

Q: How has the defense transitioned under Mike MacIntyre

A: MacIntyre’s switch to the 3-4 was a mini stroke of genius. The group he inherited has bought into the system and improved in every aspect of the game. That’s not saying much considering the Landsharks were at the bottom of the FBS in nearly every category, but it’s a start. 

Q:  The Rebels have used two talented freshman quarterbacks this season. What has impressed you with their game, and what do they need to do to be successful against Alabama? 

A: After a tough season opener against Memphis, Matt Corral has performed well facilitating the offense with good games against Arkansas and Southeastern Louisiana. Corral played well against California as well but had two bad misses on potential touchdowns in the red zone before leaving the game with bruised ribs. John Rhys Plumlee came in and lit a spark, going 7-of-7 for 82 yards. Whoever starts needs a lot of help from the offensive line and the rest of the skill players to stay afloat on Saturday.

Q: What does Ole Miss need to do to leave Bryant-Denny Stadium with a win? 

A: LOL. The Rebels could have a perfect game and still might need a hand from the football gods to achieve what would be one of the biggest upsets in Ole Miss history. I just don’t see a scenario where the unthinkable happens. 

Q: What is your score prediction? 

A: 58-7, Alabama.