Standard SEC Stuff

Ole Miss and LSU will both employ a bunch of bells and whistles when they square off Saturday night in Baton Rouge, but the likely winner - barring anything unusual taking place - will be decided via standard SEC "stuff" - who can run the ball, who can stop the ball.

Which offense will be able to run the football?

Which defense will be able to stop the run?

Barring anything "crazy," those will be the determining factors in the Ole Miss-LSU game Saturday night.

LSU will employ more of a power game, with double teams and smash-mouth blocking followed by big running backs. The Rebs will do what they have always done - read option, misdirection, zone blocking.

Which will be most effective?

That's what will be decided Saturday night as the 3rd-ranked Rebels enter the game 7-0 and LSU comes into the contest 6-2 and rated 23rd in the land.

The Rebel defense is holding opponents to 10.6 points a game. In their last game, against UT, the Vols had zero yards rushing.

Meanwhile, LSU's defense has given up 40-plus points twice, against MSU and Auburn, but in the last two games - against Florida and Kentucky - they have changed some personnel and gone with a faster lineup, holding the Gators to 24 points and the Wildcats to 3 in a rout.

"They've made some changes at linebacker to Kwon Alexander and Kendall Beckwith and those guys can run," said Coach Hugh Freeze. "They've helped themselves in regard to defending faster teams."

For the Rebels, going against a power team, don't be surprised to see some of the "bigger" players get more action this weekend.

"Their personnel is very similar to Alabama's," said Freeze, "but their scheme is different. Alabama doesn't run power like they used to - they are a zone team now. LSU still runs power stuff. They have gotten back their identity, lining up and saying stop me if you can. It's LSU football, what we are all used to with them."

Freeze has continued on the vein of being pleased with practice and the preparations.

"Our kids continue to show accountability. Our leadership has been good," he said. "Certainly, nobody knows the outcome Saturday, but I feel LSU will have to beat us. We have to play a very difficult team in a very difficult environment, but I believe we will be ready. They may win, but it won't be because we aren't ready to play."

Freeze said that's part of the buy-in.

"We've come a long way in two and a half years. The buy-in is certainly higher now than it's been and I think that is reflected in our record," he stated. Random Notes:

* Against Texas A&M, the Aggie offense was built for the Rebels to go with speed on defense. Hence, Keith Lewis drew the assignment at middle linebacker and you saw more of DEs Marquis Haynes, Carlos Thompson and C.J. Johnson. Against the Tigers, there may be a need to see more of D.T. Shackelford, Christian Russell at MLB, Fadol Brown, Channing Ward, John Youngblood at DE and Woodrow Hamilton, Lavon Hooks, Robert Nkemdiche at DT. This will also be the type of game best suited for OLB Serderius Bryant over the lighter Denzel Nkemdiche. Certainly, all will play, as usual, but the ratios of playing time might be altered due to LSU's offensive style.

* Center Ben Still is still questionable for the LSU game. To review, if he cannot go, Robert Conyers will take over at center and will be backed up by Chris Frigo or Chase Hughes. Robert will also be in the tackle rotation. If he needs a rest, look for Daronte Bouldin to be "next up" at tackle. "He's better. The good thing is that he doesn't need reps. If he can go, he will play," Freeze stated. "But Robert did very well against Tennessee. He is athletic. He may not be as strong as Ben on certain blocks, but he will fight you and his snaps are good. Frigo will fight you too. Remember, the battle for starting center between Ben and Robert was very close, but we needed Robert at other positions too. Robert can handle the center job."

* Yesterday's news that Chief Brown was back at practice several weeks before expected after suffering a summer Achilles tendon injury was certainly good, but it should have come with a cautionary note. "Back at practice" does not necessarily mean "ready to play in a game." Chief has to get in football shape. He's got to get some contact work in. He's got to knock the rust off his Husky assignment reaction time. He said he would be ready for the Auburn game. Possible, but maybe just a wee bit optimistic. Here's hoping he does.

* Arguably, Bo Wallace has been one of the most effective quarterbacks in the country this season, but he's also been under more of a microscope than many of his peers. Some of that is based on his sometimes erratic play of his first two years as the Rebel starter, which is true, but what nobody ever brings up is that Wallace never played a game totally healthy in that time frame. That detriment to his previous performance is totally forgotten in the equation, which makes the premise of the argument about as bogus as it gets. If you are going to judge Wallace, judge him on this year, not the years he was hobbled. That's fair. The other way isn't.

* Freeze said recruiting has gotten an expected bump due to the record and ranking. "We are getting a better reception from kids we weren't sure we were in the game with or not on a national level," he said. "The kids we've been working hard all along we feel we are in god shape with. Our board has gotten bigger in the last few weeks. I wish we had a full class, for sure. We will have to manage it for sure."

* As usual, practice will be closed Thursday and there will be no practice report.


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