Hugh Freeze

Alabama freshman QB Jalen Hurts is a challenge for the Ole Miss defense

Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze admitted Wednesday there’s no real way to simulate the play of Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts.

Not that the Rebels aren’t trying this week in practice.

Hurts and the Crimson Tide will land in Oxford Saturday for a 2:30 p.m. kickoff on CBS. He’s the first true freshman to start under center for Alabama in 32 years, and he’s completed 29 of 47 passes for 405 yards, four touchdowns and one interception through two games. He’s also added 51 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 20 attempts.

“I think they had one of the coaches doing it,” Freeze said. “You can’t simulate him, you just simulate what they do and you try to make sure they’re aware of the rush lanes and containing him when you do rush.”

Defensive coordinator Dave Wommack likened Hurts to Florida State redshirt freshman quarterback Deondre Francois, who the Rebels matched up with in their season opener because, like Francois, Hurts has the ability to beat you both with his arms and with his legs. 

Stuart McNair

Ole Miss will obviously be aiming for a better result against Hurts than what it got with Francois. He completed 33 of 52 passes for 419 yards and two touchdowns, and he was second on the team with 59 rushing yards, in a 45-34 Seminole win.

Alabama is 2-0 and ranked No. 1 in the country.

“I think he runs the ball pretty good,” Wommack said of Hurts. “He hasn’t had a lot of big runs, but he gives you that element of doing some of the stuff they do out of split-zone, running a little bit of option right there. I think he’s got an extremely strong arm. He’s like any young quarterback. Takes you some time, but they’ve done a nice job of putting him in good situations these first two games, and I think he’s executed extremely well.”

Freeze Extras

On the practice week: “Real good. Love the energy. I think we’re pretty locked in. We’ve had two good days.”

On the status of DE Victor Evans: “Seemed to be good. He’s been out there. (Individual drills) yesterday and today. Was part of practice.”

On WR D.K. Metcalf: “Had surgery this week on his foot.”

On the ACL surgery of CB Ken Webster: “Good. He Facetimed me a bit earlier right before practice. Thought his surgery went well.”


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