Ole Miss Pass Offense vs. Pass Defense for Texas A&M Football
This is the matchup that so many Aggie fans fear, given the nature of the scheme that Kiffin runs. The up-tempo pace, the amount of presnap motion, and the number of downfield shots have had lots of Aggie fans feeling very much as though the grass is greener on the other side of the fence when they contemplate this system over against Jimbo’s. Now, Jimbo’s obviously has a lot of issues, but when Kiffin’s system isn’t firing, it really isn’t firing: for example, take a look at the Alabama game earlier this year. When the defense the Rebels are facing has the ability to make tackles in space and in one-on-one situations, it’s tough for this offense to flourish.
The closest resemblance to a system the Ags have already gotten a look at this year is obviously Tennessee, who the Aggie defense were able to shut down for the most part, allowing only 13 points (with 3 of those being gifted by the offense after an interception deep in Aggie territory). Jaxson Dart is a better QB than Joe Milton this year, but not by a whole lot. In conference games this year, the Rebels and Vols have averaged just about the exact same PPA/pass (0.340 for Tennessee, 0.333 for Ole Miss).
Perhaps most concerningly for the Rebels, they were only able to muster an average of 0.248 PPA/pass against Vanderbilt last week in a home night game—for reference, that’s worse than A&M’s marks against Miami (0.256), Auburn (0.287), Arkansas (0.261), and South Carolina (0.377). Kiffin will try to scheme guys open as best as he can, but the Aggies in the last two games (including against a more talented QB-receiver combo in Rattler and Legette) have acquitted themselves well in downfield coverage. Likewise, their ability to make tackles on screen plays and short passes has also aided them all year—both Josh DeBerry and Bryce Anderson will be key players there. Preventing explosives is the name of the game here. That’s not been the strength of the Aggies so far this year, but they’ve shown improvement over the last two games that should be reason for optimism.