Victor Evans

Give Bama credit but the Rebs made 'a ton' of mistakes in loss

After the coaches watched and graded the film from the Alabama game last Saturday, they recognized the Tide as an outstanding team, but also identified - as you can guess - the Reels as mistake-prone in all three phases of football - offense, defense and special teams.

The two turnovers by the Ole Miss offense that resulted in defensive touchdowns for Alabama and a bad rugby-style punt directly to dangerous return man Eddie Jackson were mistakes by the Rebels that were not only costly, to the tune of 21 points for Bama, but obvious even to a casual fan who doesn't have much football acumen, 

But what wasn't as obvious was 175 yards of "missed fits, overruns and freelancing" by defensive players, particularly the linebackers.

"We had a big bust on their long run by Damien Harris and a couple of bad busts on runs by their QB," said Coach Hugh Freeze. "From a defensive standpoint, those were killers. We had about 10 bad plays from an assignment standpoint and that's way too many. That's on us as coaches."

When you combine offensive, defensive and special teams miscues, it means a loss versus a team like the Crimson Tide, number one in the nation and the defending national champions.

"We practiced a lot smarter than we played," said Coach Hugh Freeze. "We got in the game and kind of lost it mentally at critical times. We have to do a better job of getting our players mentally tuned in for games as coaches and they have to focus better."

That was a repeat of what Freeze said in his Monday press conference - "coach better, play smarter" - and that about sums it up.

Random Notes:

* Players who don't travel or dress for games, or are penciled in for redshirt status, go through a tough workout session every Friday known as "Freaky Friday." During the season, workout sessions are normally classified as "maintenance workouts," the purpose of which are to maintain strength and conditioning levels gained during the offseason. But Freaky Friday is a different animal, a workout that is more like an offseason, all-out workout than an in-season session. All players who partake benefit, but the redshirt offensive and defensive linemen are said to make the most gains. Eli Johnson, Royce Newman, Bryce Matthews, Jack DeFoor and Chandler Tuitt on offense and Josiah Coatney, Chuck Wiley and Qaadir Shepard on defense are benefiting the most, we are told, as their strength levels have increased substantially, which is rare during the season. Freaky Friday - gotta love it.

* Defensive End Victor Evans, who missed last week with a concussion, was back at practice Tuesday and has been cleared to play. The Rebs missed his talents versus Alabama, but will have him for Georgia.

* DE Sean Curtis was in a green jersey Tuesday after sustaining a concussion last week. No word on the expectations for the Georgia game.

* DE Fadol Brown was not at practice Tuesday. It looks as if he's going to be shut down for Georgia and, as you know, he did not play against Alabama.

* It's been suggested by some Rebel fans that KO Specialist Nathan Noble did not understand the rule about the penalty on kicking out of bounds and kicked out of bounds on purpose, thinking the ball would be placed at the 35 like a normal kickoff out of bounds would be. Wrong. He knew the rule - kick it out of bounds and the ball is placed 30 yards from where it is kicked off. The coaches reminded him of the rule before he took the field for that fateful kickoff that set Bama up on the 50 and led to an easy TD. So what happened? Nathan, usually a dependable kickoff specialist, overswung trying to crush the ball and pulled it, like a bad swing on a golf shot. 

* It looks like the Rebels are still searching for a punt returner. Tuesday, Carlos Davis, Van Jefferson, Markell Pack - all who have returned punts in games at one time or another - and freshmen Wideouts Tre' Nixon, who is slated to redshirt, and A.J. Brown were catching punts as well. Who will it be? We will see.

* We all know the Rebel defensive line is solid and a strength of the team, but early on the secondary was having some issues. In the Bama game, their play was better. One, Husky Tony Conner looked more natural and more like himself. Also, his backup, A.J. Moore, had a big game with nine tackles. The safeties - Myles Hartsfield, Zedrick Woods, Deontay Anderson, C.J. Hampton - all graded "better" versus Bama and the coaches were pleased with the progress of the corners, namely redshirt freshman Jalen Julius. They are not a finished product, by any means - they made some the aforementioned mistakes, but if you ar looking for improvement, they made it.

* Derrick Jones was practicing with the cornerbacks in Tuesday's practice. Derrick has played corner before but has been a wideout for over a year. Derrick has been suspended for the first three games of the season. No word if he has been reinstated yet, but he was working at CB Tuesday nonetheless.


OM Spirit Top Stories