Different Challenges

The Alabama game presented a lot of challenges to the Rebels last Saturday night. Texas A&M will also, but the challenges will be different. Read about it inside.

Two excellent teams, but two distinctly different philosophies.

Last week, Alabama, who likes to mash people with "conventional" football, replete with the power game and all the trimmings, and one of the best defensive units in the country.

This week, Texas A&M, who scores points by the bushel, spreads defenses out and uses its speed to create one-on-ones and matchup problems. Different, but effective.

The Rebs did a pretty good job at Alabama, playing a very physical game. Had it not been for some crucial mistakes – mostly self-induced, that game could have gone into the fourth quarter as a close encounter of the upset kind.

So how do the Rebs counteract an entirely different approach and, as Coach Hugh Freeze said in his press conference Monday, deal "with a different animal?"

The Ole Miss coaches opted to go with a power-against-power strategy last week and will, conversely, have to try to match the Aggies' speed this week.

"They are really fast and good on both sides of the ball. They may be the fastest defense we will play this year," Freeze noted. "They get after it at every position, their team speed is great and they do a lot of movement. On offense, they spread you out and use their speed. We have a big challenge in front of us.

Barry or Bo?
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"We will have to play really fast and put our fastest guys out there."

Kevin Sumlin, A&M's first-year head coach, and Freeze are friends and share similar philosophies.

"I think in time we will look a lot more like what they are doing now, but we are not there yet," Freeze added. "We are not there yet because of the personnel already here, but we are similar in what we believe in. Kevin is having a great first year so far."

Freeze mentioned Monday there would be a quarterback competition this week to see who gets the nod against the Aggies between Bo Wallace and Barry Brunetti.

"We had good competition today," he said. "We will evaluate the film and chart everything this week. We'll name Thursday who gets the start. We rotated them today and both got their shots with the ones and the twos. We will evaluate it like that."

Hugh believes the Rebels gained some confidence against Alabama and it's showing a little bit this week in practice so far.

"They are starting to understand how to prepare for conference games. Playing in that atmosphere will only help us in our journey, but A&M presents a lot of challenges," he closed. "They will stress us with what they do. I think our confidence definitely rose, but that's just one step. Now we want to get into some of these fourth quarter games and see how they handle that also."

Random Notes:

* Safety Tanner Burns tweeted today that his football career was over. It was revealed he has torn a meniscus and will have to have it surgically repaired. Tanner was getting action on special teams, but had not quite cracked the safety rotation with the development of freshman Trae Elston and sophomore Cody Prewitt Tough break for a fine young man.

Korvic Neat
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* Slot Korvic Neat has missed the last two games with a pulled groin, but he was back on the practice field Tuesday. From what little the media was able to witness, he looked healthy. In one drill, he ran a post route and caught 55-yard TD pass. He looked full speed to us. "He looked good. I think he will go," noted Freeze.

* DT Woodrow Hamilton was still missing from practice Tuesday after sitting out last week with a high ankle sprain. Apparently, he's got more healing to do before a return to action is attempted. "It doesn't look good for Woody to play this week," said Hugh.

* DT Uriah Grant looked to be more active in the drills early in Tuesday's practice. You'll recall Uriah broke his hand and had to have surgery. He was held out of the Tulane and Alabama games. The cast on his hand in practice seemed a little more streamlined, almost like a padded glove and he seemed to be using his hands more than last week. "He looked a lot better today. He's got a chance," Freeze noted.

* QB Bo Wallace, according to Freeze, is not 100% due to a shoulder injury he sustained against Tulane, but he's practicing and is competing to win the starting job against the Aggies. "He's tough and wants to keep going, so we are going to let him, but he's not fully healed yet," Freeze added.

* Apparently the participation chart in an earlier game listed true freshman DE/LB Temario Strong as having played this year. Freeze said that was a mistake. Temario has not played and will be redshirted this year.

* If everything remains the same the rest of the season, the redshirts this year will be PK Andrew Ritter, Punter Tyler Campbell, DE Carlos Thompson, OL Darone Bailey, TE John Youngblood, OT Robert Conyers and DE Temario Strong.

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