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Ole Miss football’s ability to ‘be like water’ is why it’s a unique title contender

Ben Garrettby:Ben Garrett07/10/24


On3’s JD PicKell quoted Bruce Lee in specifying what he most sees in title-contending Ole Miss football in 2024-25.


Lee, the iconic martial artist and actor, often spoke of being formless and shapeless like water. 

PicKell put it in football terms: Ole Miss is the kind of contender he believes can hang in both shootouts (think Texas) and rock fights (think Georgia) equally.

“Ole Miss, I like them to win any style of game,” PicKell said. He also highlighted Notre Dame, Wisconsin and Utah on his ‘Hard Count’ podcast. “They bring back 80 percent production from last year’s squad. Offensively, they scored 31 points a game. Most importantly, your quarterback. 

“Jaxson Dart, I think he’s going to have a massive year. You bring back Tre Harris and went out and got Juice Wells, one of the best receivers from a couple of years ago over there from South Carolina. He’s going to be a dog.”

RELATED: Lane Kiffin ‘turned his back’ on old ways of recruiting. Result? An Ole Miss title contender.

PicKell could have simply rolled with his Top 5 teams in college football for next season. 

Ole Miss was already included anyway. Or he simply could have left the Rebels out — seeing as he’s already gassed them up plenty throughout the preseason. 

But no team quite fit the criteria like Lane Kiffin’s record-setting — and loaded-for-bare — crew.

PicKell continued, “But if you look at Ole Miss a season ago, they were also a run-first football team. Fifty-five percent of the time (the Rebels) are dialing up some run plays. 

“The mix of being able to stretch the field vertically and attack on the perimeter, but also slow the game down. Go to some quarterback design runs with Jaxson Dart. Move the line of scrimmage up front. Ole Miss has that in their bag this year, especially with what they bring back. They can play multiple styles.”

Ole Miss won 11 games for the first time ever a year ago — the fourth for Kiffin leading the Rebels. 

The capper was a dominant showing in a win over Penn State in the Peach Bowl. Ole Miss has the sixth-best odds to win the title next season in the expanded, 12-team playoff.

“Defensively is the big part here and why they’re one of those ‘Be Water’ teams,” PicKell said. “This defense goes into their second season under coach (Pete) Golding. Suntarine Perkins, he’s a freak-show linebacker. Jared Ivey, he’s a beast. Princely Umanmielen and Walter Nolen. 

“Ole Miss is definitely one of those ‘Be Water’ teams. One of those versatile teams in 2024 that can apply pressure for you on the ground and also through the air.”

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