Good news, college football fans. We’re officially less than 100 days away from the first Saturday of the season.
To mark the occasion, we on the SEC blog will take a look at where all the conference teams stand right now.
Up next is Ole Miss.
What we learned on offense: Well, the great news for the Rebels is that record-breaking quarterback Chad Kelly is back. Even though he missed the last two weeks of practice because of hernia surgery, the Rebels actually got a few positives out of it, the biggest being the valuable spring reps freshman Shea Patterson got with the first-team offense. It's no secret that he's the future at the position, even if he doesn't play this season. So getting him into some sort of rhythm this spring was a win for Hugh Freeze and offensive coordinator Dan Werner. The offensive line was blown up after 2015, with all five starters gone. However, Rebels coaches aren't all doom and gloom about it, even if franchise left tackle Laremy Tunsil is gone, because the line coming back actually has good experience across the board. It's also a pretty deep line. Laquon Treadwell's absence at receiver will be tough to get over, but there's athleticism, speed and talent at receiver, starting with Quincy Adeboyejo and Damore'ea Stringfellow. Finding consistency at running back is still an issue.
What we learned on defense: The line is incredibly deep and talented. It's headlined by ends Marquis Haynes, who has 17.5 sacks and 25.5 tackles for loss in two years, and Fadol Brown on the outside, while Breeland Speaks, D.J. Jones and Issac Gross will try to clog the middle. The Rebels return 10 lettermen along the defensive line and welcomed freshmen Benito Jones (five-star prospect) and Charles Wiley this spring. Linebacker does need some work, but having leading tackler DeMarquis Gates back helps. The secondary will take its lumps here and there without Mike Hilton and Trae Elston, but the return of star safety Tony Conner, versatile safety C.J. Hampton, and corners Tony Bridges and Kendarius Webster will give Ole Miss a solid secondary core to work with.
Breakout player: The Rebels probably will have to replace Treadwell by committee this season. That's not necessarily a bad thing, especially if the Rebels get what they hope to out of redshirt freshman Demarkus Lodge. The speedster can make circus catches and really turned heads on the coaching staff this spring with his play. He has good size to be a deep threat on the outside for the Rebels and can make plays over the middle of the field. The Rebels are deep at receiver, but this offense needs all the speed and athleticism it can get. The good news for the Rebels is that Lodge brings a ton of both.
Key storyline: Unfortunately for Ole Miss' program, administrators will have to continue to deal with the fallout from Tunsil's disastrous draft night. After witnessing two of his social media accounts being hacked in front of the world, Tunsil told reporters at the draft that the took money from an Ole Miss coach while with the Rebels. Tunsil's hacked Instagram account revealed a text conversation in which Tunsil asked assistant athletic director John Miller for money to pay rent and his mother's $305 utility bill. School officials have determined that the text conversation took place, but are still trying to see if the conversation was altered in any way. Already dealing with a previous NCAA investigation, which dealt in part with Tunsil taking improper benefits, Ole Miss' program now has to wonder if the NCAA will look to amend its previous investigation if new information arises. This could be a long, drawn-out process, but Freeze has maintained that he hasn't been aware of any improprieties by him or his staff.