Ole Miss faces their third set of Tigers Saturday. The first one, Memphis, gave resistance for a half but faltered. The second set, LSU, powered by the Rebs in a squeaker in Baton Rouge. The upcoming Tiger, the 4th-ranked Auburn species, is sleeker and swifter. Ole Miss, in Tuesday's practice, shifted gears for the Tigers from Alabama.

LSU's calling card was power.

Auburn's calling card will be a combination of power and speed, with speed being their most effective weapon.

In Tuesday's practice, held in the Manning Center due to rainy weather in Lafayette County, the Rebels had to change gears back to a game they are more familiar with, and, actually, were built for.

"Auburn will spread you out and run the read option with Nick Marshall and Cameron Artis-Payne. They believe in balance, but their attack will be a lot different than LSU's. They also throw the ball very well," said Coach Hugh Freeze. "They have nearly 50 plays through seven games of 20 yards or more. They are explosive."

The Rebs adjusted their defensive personnel against LSU, going with a 4-3 set most of the time and going with bigger players on their front four. Against Auburn, they can go back to what they are more familiar with - the 4-2-5 - and use some of their faster players on the edges more.

The matchup should suit the Rebels better than what they faced in Baton Rouge, which is the good news. The bad news is that they have not faced a quarterback like Marshall, who mortally wounded the Rebs last year.

"He's very good and very fast," said Freeze. "He has also gotten better with a year and a half experience under his belt."

On defense, this Tiger has not been as effective as they had hoped in pressuring/sacking opposing quarterbacks. Their corners are solid, but their secondary has been lit up at times due to the time opposing QBs have had to throw. As the football wags are wont to say, nobody can cover receivers forever.

South Carolina, just last Saturday for example, threw for five TD passes against the War Eagles.

"Ellis Johnson is an excellent defensive mind and coordinator. He will have a solid plan. We will have to take advantage of every opening and every opportunity," Freeze added.

A different set of Tigers. . . a different type of attack. . . but the same issues in the SEC. . . play well or else.

Random Notes:

* Externally, there is concern about how the Rebels will respond after having tasted defeat. Internally, at practice Tuesday, everything seemed status quo. Morale was good, the Rebs seemed loose and there was no difference in their approach from previous weeks - they seemed focused and eager. Obviously, the coaches have been talking to them about not letting LSU beat them twice.

* Yep, we are going to try to muddle through an injury report, but it won't be based on what is being said from the inside, but from a brief look at practice. Don't hold us to its accuracy. . . DT Robert Nkemdiche, who sustained a shoulder issue against LSU, was dressed out and in full pads. The media is allowed to watch two non-contact periods, so we don't know how much hitting he did, but the fact he was dressed out has to be a positive sign. . . Center Ben Still, who missed the LSU game with an MCL issue, was not at practice Tuesday. Not a good sign. . . FS Cody Prewitt, who has some shoulder/rib issues, was also dressed out. The expectation is for him to play against Auburn but be very limited in physical work this week in practice. . . LT Laremy Tunsil, who has a bicep problem, was also dressed out and looked eager to practice. Also a good sign. . . . The best guess? Right now, all the wounded except Still and Denzel Nkemdiche, who had foot surgery Sunday and will be out for the year, should give it a try against Auburn. As for Still, Freeze said Monday he has taken off his brace and is moving around some, so it's too early to count him out as well.

* Without Denzel, look for Serderius Bryant to take a lot of the OLB snaps, but don't be surprised to also see a lot of senior Keith Lewis, who normally comes in at MLB in passing situations. He has worked at OLB and MLB in practice all year and is prepared to take on the role of helping Bryant. . . Also, there may be an opportunity to see some of redshirt freshman Tayler Polk. DC Dave Wommack has always liked what Polk brings to the table, stating earlier in the year, "Tayler is a very good football player. He is just at a deep position, but if we need to play him, I believe he will perform well. I trust him. I know he knows what to do and is prepared to contribute."

* Let's play the what if game. . . what if Prewitt can't go? Look for the coaches to get Chief Brown, on the comeback trail from summer a summer Achilles tear, ready at free safety. Also, look for freshman C.J. Hampton to help as well as CB Mike Hilton being ready at SS. . . If Tunsil can't go - Daronte Bouldin subbed for him after injury last Saturday, but he was not ready for the speed of the game and the silent count the Rebs had to use. The silent snap will not be necessary at The Vaught, so that will help his cause, but there may also be a chance we could see Christian Morris if Tunsil is having issues, heaven forbid. . . If Still can't go, it will be Robert Conyers at center. He played the whole game against LSU in his first center start and that will help him moving forward. . . If Robert Nkemdiche can't go, the coaches will just lean more heavily on Woodrow Hamilton and Lavon Hooks.

* Redshirt TE Sammie Epps caught our eye today. When he reported back in the summer, he was around 210 pounds. He's filling out nicely and is tipping the scales at 225-230 right now. Good weight gained fairly quickly.

OM Spirit Top Stories