"We've worked a 30-minute period back in mid-August on defending the option about five times," said Ole Miss Coach Hugh "We knew it was going to be a quick turnaround, so we knew we had to get a little familiarity on option offense prior to this week. We hope the guys have retained some of what we worked on."
That's what the Rebels will be working on the bulk of the week, but part of the time they have to correct mistakes from the FSU game.
"Our coverage techniques were very bad. We had our eyes in the backfield instead of on our man. We have to be more disciplined and use better technique. Our kids were coached better than that, but it didn't translate to the field, so we, as coaches, have to communicate to them better," Freeze noted. "On offense, I think we gave up on the run too quickly. When we had the threat of a run game in the first half, we kept them honest on defense and were able to do basically what we wanted to. Once they saw we weren't going to run the ball, or couldn't run it, they loaded up on the pass and took it to us. We should have run the ball more in the second half and kept them honest."
* There were plenty of good things that took place in the opener, but one that has gone a little unnoticed, or so it seems, was the play of freshman DT Benito Jones in his collegiate debut. In 37 snaps, Benito graded out a solid B-, had four tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss. Nice coming out party by the big, explosive true freshman.
* With some issues on the inside of the OL in the second half, it was suggested by some that maybe LT Rod Taylor would move back inside for some guard action, but that will not happen for now. Even though freshman Greg Little got roughly half the snaps and did a "passing" job, very good for his first college action, it's not time to turn the position over to him. Rod got the other half of the snaps and gave up a sack, but otherwise played well, we were told.
* Redshirt freshman Right Tackle Alex Givens also graded well in his first college action. Givens rested Sean Rawlings and gave a good accounting of himself, it was indicated to us.
* Overall, the defensive line was "excellent" except for losing containment on a couple of plays. DE Marquis Haynes applied constant pressure although he only registered one sack, Issac Gross looks to be back in top form, D.J. Jones and Breeland Speaks were both very good, Fadol Brown got more action than was anticipated and was effective, John Youngblood did his usual yeoman's work and Victor Evans was also effective. And, see above, Benito Jones turned heads with his debut.
* The Stinger linebackers - Terry Caldwell and Tayler Polk - graded well, we were told, but the Rebs were expecting more from the middle linebacker spot manned by DeMarquis Gates and Rommel Mageo. Gates did have two of the three QB sacks, but was sporadic in other areas.
* The young safeties have been a concern all August because of the unknown, but both Zedrick Woods and Myles Hartsfield graded well. Woods led the team in tackles with 11 and Hartsfield had 5 stops. Perhaps the biggest surprise was that Tony Conner only had two tackles in limited playing time and looked to be struggling to know the rust off of his game, absent since last year. After the game, he had to have his knee drained for fluid.
* So what to do with the corners? Do not be surprised to see the Rebels go pretty quickly to a youth Movement with Jaylon Jones and Jalen Julius. Tony Bridges and Carlos Davis will most likely still get the starts, but look for more and more action from the two freshmen.
* There are two position change possibilities being discussed - Jarrion Street back to RB from safety and Derrick Jones from wide receiver back to corner, but neither has happened yet.
* Some have been ardently discussing, and fussing, about the cushion the corners were giving the FSU receivers. Well, you'd be right, but not because the coverage call is bad - off-man is a widely used coverage technique when coaches do not have faith in the press coverage ability of their players, but it is not to be played with as much cushion as was exhibited in the FSU game. "That's what I was talking about with the poor technique. It was like our guys were afraid to get beat deep and their eyes were in the wrong places," said Freeze. "We would love to play press coverage every down if our guys show that ability, but Kendarius (Webster) was the guy we were counting on for that and he is now gone for the year. Tony (Bridges) and those young guys have to step up their game - they have no choice."
* With Eric Swinney now out for the year, look for D'Vaughn Pennamon to get a big shot at playing time. The true freshman is making daily improvement, we were told. Also. D.K. Buford will get a shot to show what he can do as well.