By Cole Guenther
Brandon Mack has been catching new head football coach Lane Kiffin’s eye early in full-scale practices. The former three-star was recruited and offered by Kiffin at FAU before he decided to commit to Ole Miss. Mack decided to use his redshirt and sit out the 2019 campaign.
Mack claimed he was originally opposed to using his redshirt; however, some of the older players were able to convince him that it would be in his best interest to do so.
“Just take this year, learn, get in the weight room and get bigger,” Mack said. “At first I didn’t like it, but now that I look back on it I’m glad I did it because I learned, I stayed in the weight room, I gained more weight.”
Where new defensive coordinators D.J. Durkin and Chris Partridge plan to utilize Mack’s talent on defense will be interesting to watch play out. Mack was originally recruiting as a WDE but does not have the size to play in the trenches of the SEC yet. Even with a year in the weight room, Mack is still listed at 235 pounds. This means that the duo of coordinators plan to play Mack alongside the juggernaut of returning stud linebackers (Mohamed Sanogo, Sam Williams, Lakia Henry, Jaquez Jones).
Mack feels as if the transition from year one to year two has been very smooth and is ready to finally get out on the field.
“It pretty much feels like the same thing I was doing last year since on the scout team I was going against the starters,” Mack said. “It helped me get a little bit of experience… it just feels like it’s second nature for me.”
Early reports from Kiffin signaled that the offense was taking control of the defense in almost every facet of the first scrimmages. Mack believes that the defense has taken that as a challenge and has responded in a big way as a result.
“Especially recently, we came together as a team, started to understand each other more, building relationships with each other and now that carries onto the field,” he said. “We’re starting to communicate better, and we’re playing for each other out there. The defense as a whole is starting to look pretty good especially the last week or two.”
Newcomers Tavius Robinson and former four-star Demon Clowney have been working alongside Mack during camp.
“We are all competing in the same position, so we help each other to get better because nothing guaranteed right now,” Mack said. “They’re great players so they push me to get better; I push them to get better.”