A&M Defense ‘Fast'

Ole Miss Coach Hugh Freeze has a lot of respect for the Texas A&M offense, scoring 48 points a game this year, but he has just as much for the Aggie defense. Read about it inside.

After directing a Wednesday practice on a beautiful fall day in Oxford, Ole Miss Coach Hugh Freeze was asked to talk about the Texas A&M defense.

His mood went from smiling to serious real quickly.

"They have the fastest defense we have seen on tape," said Freeze. "They play with extreme effort and the speed of their front seven is the fastest we have seen. Their back end is fast as well, but their defensive line and their linebackers run extremely well and they play with very, very hard.

"Nobody has had a lot of success on them, even Florida, who they lost to, didn't put much offense on them. I think they do a really nice job on the defensive side of the ball." Aggie DE Damontre Moore already has 10 tackles for loss and six quarterback sacks through four games.

"Whoo, you better know where he is and have a plan for him. He's a special, special player," Freeze continued. "You better know where he is. They move him around some, enough. You better find him all the time and slide protections to him because he's a handful."

Freeze is not surprised Aggie Coach Kevin Sumlin has had early success in his first year as the Texas A&M mentor.

"They have a lot of players at A&M and I don't think our systems are that difficult for skill players to pick up. They really don't do a whole lot and I say that with respect to him, he's a good friend," noted Freeze. "They are just very good at what they do and when it doesn't work, they have a quarterback who extends the play and turns it into a different play. I'm not surprised – Kevin has had success everywhere he's been and he will there."

C.J. Johnson
File Photo

Johnny Football, Aggie QB Johnny Manziel, as has been mentioned several times this week, presents a lot of problems.

"We have tried to simulate him breaking out of containment by letting our fastest guy on the scout team (Jamont Scott) run around out there, but you can't simulate Manziel and what he does when their plays break down and he takes off," Freeze assessed.

The Rebels have an ongoing quarterback competition between Bo Wallace and Barry Brunetti, one that Freeze said has been "good" so far this week.

"Both looked good today. We will go in just like last night and chart everything. Both will play though, I'm sure," Freeze said economically. Alabama keyed on Rebel WR Donte Moncrief in the game last week. Does Freeze expect more of the same the rest of the season?

"I expect people to pay close attention to him and know where he is," said Hugh. "They can't always put extra coverage on him because we move him around in different formations, but opponents will roll coverage his way a lot.

"I thought Ja-Mes (Logan) and Vincent (Sanders) did well in picking up the slack and beating one-on-one coverage. What we have to do is make sure we have good protection so our QBs can go through their reads and get to the second and third options."

Random Notes:

* Alabama Coach Nick Saban said in his press conference today that he felt the up-tempo offenses were not fair for defenses and because they could not substitute more players would get injured. "Well, I think we're going to get hurt because they are so big and physical," responded Freeze. "Obviously, I'm for it. I think it's an equalizer and is something I believe in. I have great respect for Nick and what he has done, but we'll be on the opposite sides of that debate."

* Slot Korvic Neat practiced again today, but Freeze did not get a warm and fuzzy feeling about his progress as Neat tries to return from a groin injury that has caused him to miss the last two games. "He tried to go today, but he's not bursting. He's questionable. I don't know if it is because he's not completely well or if he's nervous about it," said Freeze. "Right now, it would be hard for me to put him out there."

* DT News: It appears as if Uriah Grant (broken hand) will try to play against the Aggies, but Woodrow Hamilton (high ankle sprain) will not. "I think Uriah is going to be able to contribute. Woody is out," noted Freeze.

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