Bama Trashed

Coaches all talk about "putting that one in the trash" after any game, win or lose. The Rebels went about doing that in Tuesday's practice after a day off on Monday. It will be critical to shift gears because the Aggies have a totally different attack on both sides of the ball.

Fellow students, fans, friends and town folk have been patting the Rebel players on the back ever since the clock ticked down against Alabama Saturday night, but the coaches and players can't afford to revel any longer.

The Texas A&M Aggies, at Kyle Field, await and in case anyone has forgotten, they have defeated the Rebels two times in a row in Oxford on late drives to overcome deficits.

"I'm not going to lie," said DB Mike Hilton, "it's been hard to put that game behind us, but we have no choice. We have a tough task ahead of us this week in a hostile environment and we have to be ready and focused. I think we are mature enough to handle trashing the Alabama game."

Rebel Defensive End John Youngblood said he may never be able to get that game completely out of his system because he is from Alabama, but he knows what is important moving forward.

"Our coaches used a quote from someone today that makes a lot of sense," said Youngblood. "You can't buy success, you can only rent it and rent is due every Saturday in this game.

"I liked the way we approached things today in practice. There was no talk of Alabama, just Texas A&M because we know if we don't perform against the Aggies, it makes our win over Alabama less relevant."

Youngblood said there is a different mindset defensively when it comes to shifting gears from Alabama to A&M.

"Against Alabama, you think run first. Texas A&M throws the ball something like 70% of the time and while you have to respect the run, you have to think pass and trying to pressure the quarterback," Youngblood noted.

Ole Miss Coach Hugh Freeze was not available for comment Tuesday, just players. Freeze and a couple of assistant coaches will be available after Wednesday's practice.

Random Notes:

* Aggie Coach Kevin Sumlin comes out of the Hal Mumme/Mike Leach/Dana Holgorson "coaching tree," that basically throws the ball all over the yard and employs, mostly, the inside zone and a little bit of gap read in their run game. It's a tempo offense, but it varies a lot from the Hugh Freeze/Chad Morris/Gus Malzahn tree, who are also considered tempo coaches. The latter rely more on powers, counters and zone plays, plus the read option, in the run game and, for the most part, strives for more run/pass balance. You will see a lot of similarities in both, but in the coaching world, there is quite a bit of difference.

* The suspension of Strong Safety Trae Elston for a half Saturday doesn't seem like much on teh surface, especially with the Rebs being able to move CB Mike Hilton there if they choose. Hilton is a quick study and will get the job done, but with the recent loss of Anthony Alford, who opted to quit the team and work exclusively on his pro baseball career, combined with the loss of CBs Tee Shepard and Carlos Davis for the year to injury and the fact that the Aggies will attack primarily through the air, more than likely, Trae's suspension could be cause for concern. A thin secondary without one of its stalwart veterans is not ideal when facing this type of attack. Doable? Sure. Ideal? No.

* Usually after any game with a physical team like Alabama, there are a myriad of injuries that cost players playing time. That was the not the case this past weekend. Raise a toast to S&C Coach Paul Jackson and his staff for getting the Rebs in excellent shape and the caoch staff for not only recruiting reliable depth to keep players fresh, but for having the conviction to play that depth in tight situations.

* While nobody is suggesting the Ole Miss offensive line is a finished product, it is safe to say that unit took a giant leap forward against the Tide. No, they did not dominate Alabama's talented DL, but they did - for the most part - neutralize them and gave QB Bo Wallace time to operate, a huge key to the victory. The morale and confidence boost that group had to get from that performance will allow them to continue to advance, which is what is needed as the Rebels plow through the gauntlet of SEC teams remaining on their schedule. That big step could turn into huge dividends.

* Anyone who thinks WR Laquon Treadwell is not a marvel, just re-watch two plays from last Saturday. One, on the Ole Miss sidelines, he reached up with one hand and snagged a pass with a Tide defender, who was called for interference, draped all over him. The other was the TD catch. Quon caught the ball in traffic and bulled his way between two would-be tacklers to the end zone. Both spectacular, both Quon worthy.

* As expected, Hilton is learning the strong safety position due to Elston's half-game suspension. There are no worries that Hilton will take care of business - he has, arguably, the best football instincts on the team. The running "joke" within the team is that Mike could play linebacker, safety, cornerback, defensive end or anywhere on the field and still get the job done. . . But while most don't think Hilton to SS is a big deal, what could be a big deal is who takes Mike's place at corner against the gazelles who play wide receiver for Texas A&M. No definite decisions have been made, but it appears senior Cliff Coleman or sophomore Derrick Jones will be called on to fill Hilton's shoes at CB.

* If you are looking for someone who might have a chance to play a bigger, more important role Saturday against the Aggies, look no further than senior MLB Keith Lewis. Lewis normally comes in on third downs or in passing situations because of his coverage skills. Well, against A&M, every down is potentially a passing down. Lewis' skills may be required more than they are against a "traditional" offense.

* The $64,000 question this week will be about the Rebel placekicking. Freeze said in his Monday press conference that the job is wide open and an intense competition between Andrew Fletcher, Gary Wunderlich and Andy Pappanastos. Fletcher has missed his last three field goal attempts and his last PAT was blocked by Alabama. Wunderlich hit a field goal against Alabama, but missed a PAT when he was roughed by Bama. Pappanastos has not kicked this year. Who will win the job this week? Got $64K? You might get an answer.


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