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Texas A&M Football

SECMD22 Notebook: Monday highlights from LSU, Ole Miss & Missouri

July 18, 2022
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ATLANTA — If LSU transfer Max Johnson wins the Texas A&M quarterback competition, he may get a chance to reunite with some old teammates.

That’s not a good thing, though.

The Aggies plan host to LSU on Nov. 26. If Johnson is in the pocket, he’ll be a target for LSU defensive end B.J. Ojulari and linebacker Mike Jones Jr.

Ojulari, who led LSU with seven sacks last season, said he and Johnson are close friends. They were even roommates.

“He’s still a good friend of mine,” Ojulari said on Monday at SEC Media Days. “I can’t wait to play against him this season. I definitely look forward to hopefully getting a chance to sack him.”

And if he did sack Johnson?

“I’d probably just have a good laugh at it,” Ojulari said. “Then I’d see him after the game, dap him up and give him a big hug.”

Jamie Maury, TexAgs
Max Johnson completed 22 of 38 passes for 306 yards and three touchdowns against the Aggies in 2021.

Jones, who transferred to LSU from Clemson following the 2020 season, said he’d have a few words for Johnson.

“I’ll probably talk a little bit more trash,” Jones said. “I say ‘Miss you,’ or something like that. I’d just be on the field talking and having fun.”

Last season, Johnson passed for 2,814 yards and 27 touchdowns for LSU.

Throwing a Dart

Ole Miss has led the SEC in total offense in each of its two seasons under head coach Lane Kiffin. Coincidentally, quarterback Matt Corral passed for more than 3,300 yards in both seasons.

Corral is now gone to the NFL, which raises the question of whether Kiffin’s offense can be as productive with a new quarterback.

“I think we've had a lot of really good offenses because we had really good players and really good coaches, assistant coaches,” Kiffin said. “That's always changing.

“I think we don't probably do a lot of things not as well as others, but I think one thing we do pretty well is change our offense to our players, to our skilled players. It's why people will say we look so different year to year. That's not necessarily offseason studies, that is more who our players are.”

Ole Miss will replace Corral with either Luke Altmyer or Jaxson Dart.

Altmyer started for injured Corral in the 21-7 Sugar Bowl loss to Baylor last season. He completed 15-of-28 passes for 174 yards and a touchdown. He also threw two interceptions, one of which was returned 96 yards for a touchdown.

Dart, a sophomore transfer from USC, threw for 1,353 yards and nine touchdowns with five interceptions in six games last season.

“We look forward to those guys battling it out and making them both the best that we can because a lot of times you need both,” Kiffin said.

Missouri Misery

The task for Missouri is easily identified.

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Eli Drinkwitz is 11-12 in two years at Mizzou.

The Tigers must upgrade a defensive unit that was ranked 106th in the nation last season. 

Also, they were ranked 113th in points allowed. They gave up at least 34 points in each of their six regular season losses.

“We will be improved on defense,” coach Eli Drinkwitz said. “People have been asking me what is it going to look like for us to have a successful season? Number one, we have to improve on the defensive side of the football. We are going to.”

Missouri returns nine players on defense that have six or more starts. Seven transfers were also brought in to bolster the defense.

Did Nick Saban approve this message?

SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey acknowledged that Name, Imaging & Likeness has created new issues in college football.

He also acknowledged that those issues have caused a rift among some “unspecified” SEC coaches.

“We're dealing with complex problems that won't be solved by complaints, by accusations, by finger pointing, or by offering simple solutions,” Sankey said. “What is needed now is collaboration, deep thinking about real-world solutions, and everyone participating in the conversation.”

Of course, Alabama coach Nick Saban accused Texas A&M of buying its entire No. 1-rated 2022 recruiting class.

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SECMD22 Notebook: Monday highlights from LSU, Ole Miss & Missouri

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