What do Ole Miss’ coordinators want to see in second camp scrimmage?

Published 3:20 pm Friday, August 17, 2018

With preseason camp in full swing, Ole Miss is set to get another gauge of where it stands on both sides of the ball.

The Rebels will hold their second closed scrimmage Saturday to cap the second full week of camp. It’s another chance for coordinators Phil Longo and Wesley McGriff to gather more intel with decisions still to be made when it comes to filling out the depth chart, particularly on defense.

McGriff has been rotating players heavily on defense with competition for spots on the two-deep rampant along the defensive line and at linebacker, where true freshman Kevontae’ Ruggs has made a serious push with a strong camp. Communication and execution have been spotty with so many different combinations on that side of the ball, but the Rebels have been repping long enough to where McGriff wants to see improvement in both Saturday.

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“I want to see us playing at a high level,” McGriff said. “I always tell them at the beginning of training camp, it’s really not about what we run. It’s how we run it. One thing I want to see is just see them get lined up, communicate and just play fast. If you’re a fast defense, you’re a good defense.”

There’s been far more continuity on offense. Floyd Allen and Braylon Sanders have filled in at receiver for A.J. Brown (hamstring) and DaMarkus Lodge (ankle), who’ve been held out of individual drills and team work with injuries, but the only real thing left to sort out is the pecking order at running back. Junior college transfer Scottie Phillips and Eric Swinney are the frontrunners to be the No. 1 back and are likely to get the bulk of the carries Saturday with the Rebels’ season opener against Texas Tech in Houston on Sept. 1 two weeks away, but Longo will also be keeping a close eye on Isaiah Woullard, Armani Linton and true freshman Tylan Knight in the scrimmage.

“It’s always good when you have depth,” Longo said. “I think it’s probably best to have one or two that are the premier guys. That way you can rep them and prepare them. You’re never going to complain about having depth.

“I want to continue to run the football the way we have in camp. I’d like to see fewer missed assignments, and I’d just like to see us to continue to improve on the tempo we have offensively.”