SEC Preview - GI Associates - Mississippi Scoreboard


By Robert Wilson

         Brandon High football coach Tyler Peterson made a prediction to his assistant coaches when Jonathan Mingo was going into spring practice of his rising junior season.    

         “I told them I think Jonathan could be a (former Ole Miss and current Tennessee Titan wide receiver) A.J. Brown type of player,” Peterson said. “No one worked harder than Jonathan in the weight room when he was with us. He had great work ethic and drive. There wasn’t any clowning around with Jonathan. Sometimes you will see great athletes who don’t want to work hard and just cruise on their athletic ability. Not Jonathan. We never had to get on him for not working hard and or a lack of effort.

         “I’ve very proud of him. He had a big day. It was no surprise to us. I think Jonathan has got a bright future.”

         The 6-foot-2, 215-pound Mingo showed the special talent that Peterson was talking last Saturday when he caught eight passes for 128 yards and two touchdowns in Ole Miss’ 42-41 overtime victory over Kentucky. He caught TD passes of 24 and 16 yards from Matt Corral. Mingo is the first player other than Elijah Moore to have more than 100 receiving yards in a game since 2018.

         Mingo started every game as a freshman last season and caught 12 passes for 172 yards and one TD. He had 2,492 yards and 23 TDs in his career at Brandon, including 77 catches and 1,451 yards and 14 TDs as a senior.


         First-year MSU coach Mike Leach is credited with inventing the “Air Raid” offense, but here is the rest of the story.

         “When we were at Iowa Wesleyan College some guy brought in an air raid siren,” Leach said. “That was fun at that time to name offenses. There were all the different names they had for a variety of offenses. You know West Coast Offense, Fun and Gun, Run and Shoot. Anyway, this guy, Bob Lamb, comes in with an air raid siren. Our offices were in a basement of a gym that was built in about 1890. Iowa Wesleyan College is the oldest college west of the Mississippi, and it was actually a site for the Lincoln-Douglas debates. You see the gym on ‘Hoosiers’? Our gym was more Hoosiers than that gym on ‘Hoosiers’. We’re downstairs in the bowels of the basement. I was next to the boiler room. Come to find out Davey Lopes, the famous baseball player for the Dodgers, it had been his apartment way back when he played baseball at Iowa Wesleyan for a period of time. So he comes in there with this siren and says ‘Look what I’ve got.’ He turns that thing on and it’s loud as can be because it’s echoing off all the walls. Just letting it rip right.

         “So we take it out there and our games would have 1,000 people, maybe 3,000 on a really big crowd, out there playing on a high school field. Bob would stand out there in the end zone. He would turn that thing on when we would score. Then after a while, he and his friends had so much fun with it, they’d just blast it for anything, randomly, whenever they felt like it. Even when the other quarterback was trying to call plays because we didn’t have a lot of crowd noise there. He’d get kicked out of games and stuff and have to go stand on the edge of the fence in the back. It was greatness. From there, they started calling it the Air Raid. I’m kind of credited with the idea of calling it the Air Raid because I said, ‘Well hey, we could call it the Air Raid,’ and it stuck.”

         Leach’s Air Raid offense was flying high in his SEC debut when quarterback K.J. Costello passed for an SEC record 623 yards and five TDs in a 44-34 upset over then No. 6 and defending national champion LSU. But the Air Raid came back down to Earth last week in MSU’s 21-14 loss to Arkansas. Costello still threw it a lot (59 times vs. Arkansas compared to 60 vs. LSU), but for only 313 yards, just over half the amount against LSU. Costello did set a school record with 43 completions, but was intercepted three times.

         Leach knows Costello is still learning the Air Raid and also needs to be patient, but at the same time stay aggressive.

         “The majority of the problems are forces. Not all of them are him,” Leach said. “Sometimes he’s getting hit or sometimes the ball bounces funny. But plenty of them are forced throws, trying to make too much happen. I do think there’s quite a lot of that. You have to go out there and put it in play and utilize all the positions out there. I didn’t think we did a good job of that. We tried to make way too much happen, and not just him. 

         “Don’t try to do too much. He’s good with his job. He knows his job. The thing is as you compete and you’re aggressive, he always tries to take it a step further. But if you do that then the whole thing gets tangled up. I want him to keep the simple things simple and have his eyes in the right place. Don’t try to do too much. Just do his job because there’s a lot of other weapons and receivers out there to help him. That’s going to be easier as we protect better.”

         Based on what Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral did against Kentucky (24 of 29 for 320 yards and four TDs without an interception), Costello should have more of a game like he did against LSU than Arkansas this week against Kentucky.


         Quarterback Myles Brennan, a Saint Stanislaus High alumnus, isn’t the only Mississippian who is a part of the LSU passing attack.

         Alex Adams, a 6-foot, 196-pound true freshman from South Pike High, caught his first pass as an LSU Tiger in Saturday’s 41-7 victory over Vanderbilt. Adams caught one pass for six yards in the fourth quarter.

         Adams is the 11th Tiger so far this year to catch a pass.

         He caught plenty at South Pike. Adams caught 34 passes for 859 yards and 10 TDs and ran for 166 yards and two TDs and led South Pike to a 13-1 record and the Class 4A quarterfinals last year as a senior. The Eagles won seven games by 40 or more before being upset by Poplarville 31-20.

         “Alex was a super player for us,” South Pike coach Brinson Wall said. “He has tremendous speed and is extremely strong. We didn’t pass the ball but 8-10 times a game so his stats don’t jump out at you. We lined him up all over the place, at quarterback, defensive back and receiver.  I believe he is the first South Pike player to play football at LSU since Monte Gatlin in the ‘90s. LSU is a good fit for Alex. Baton Rouge isn’t but an hour and a half way from here so his parents can go see him play. I’m happy he’s getting a chance to play as a freshman and I believe he will be a good college player for LSU.”

         LSU has had many great receivers, including two of the top receivers in the NFL right now, Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry, both with the Cleveland Browns. Beckham caught two passes in his first game as a true freshman in 2011 and Landry caught only four his true freshman season. Beckham and Landry had great careers at LSU and were first and second round NFL draft picks respectively.