Texas A&M Quarterback Trevor Knight is out - a sprained shoulder did him in for the year, so the Ole Miss-A&M match this Saturday night will be the battle of the backups because the Rebs lost their starter, Chad Kelly, as well.
Junior Jake Hubenak will start for the Aggies and Ole Miss Defensive Coordinator Dave Wommack has done as much research on him as possible.
"I watched every cutup of him playing this year and the bowl game last year. He played a little against us last year. He is a pretty darn good thrower, but he probably doesn't run as well as Trevor Knight," said Dave. "They do some really nice things in their run game. They have had success running the ball this year, but with this new QB, you really don't know for sure what they are going to do."
Wommack is certain of one thing, they have weapons on offense.
"Christian Kirk is very, very good. They use him all over the place and he has 61 receptions already. They use him in the run game too - he's a great football player," said Wommack. "Trayveon Williams is a back who can run over you or around you. He's a typical quality SEC back."
Does Wommack anticipate a balanced attack from the Aggies? With a new QB, he's not sure.
"We have to be prepared for all of it. They won't know with us with a new QB. They have been balanced in yardage and they have wanted to run the ball more this year, but without their running QB, it is hard to say," he stated. "I really look for them to try to run the ball with new schemes they have put in this year that have been effective for them."
A&M also lost an offensive line starter last week against Mississippi State, but Dave has been impressed with OL overall this season.
"They have always had a nice OL. They are a typical SEC line and they do a good job of moving you around and coming off the ball," he stated.
As for his guys, the second half of the Georgia Southern game gave Wommack some needed hope and positive vibes.
"We looked like the Landshark defense for a brief time the other day and that was encouraging. We are trying to build off of that. The guys practiced very well tonight under the lights and they are anxious to play again and see if they can build off of what they started against the Eagles," noted Dave.
Rommel Mageo got his first start last week and did well enough that Wommack is going to stick with him again this week at middle linebacker.
"He did some good things and graded higher than any linebacker has graded this year for us," he continued. "We are going to use him a lot but we have to use a combination of guys as well. We will use Willie Hibbler more at Stinger because DeMarquis Gates, hobbled, played too many plays the other night. He also did some good things, but we need to get him some rest."
With John Youngblood now out for the year, Wommack is counting heavily on Fadol Brown, who played the most snaps he has played all year at strong side end in Youngblood's absence and ended with 14 tackles on the day, the most every in the Freeze Era by a defensive lineman.
"Fadol will come back to practice tomorrow - we rested him today, but we are hopeful he is ready to give us a lot of reps the rest of the year," Wommack assessed. "Garrald McDowell and Sean Curtis were working there today with Fadol resting."
DT Breeland Speaks played his best game of the year against Georgia Southern and that was a bonus because he had not been producing for a few weeks.
"He did well, but I sure wish he would get his weight back to around 300. Man, I was watching the film of Texas A&M last year and either Breeland or Gates were making every play. We need them to play at that level again. Badly," he noted. "I don't know why he lost the weight, but it has something to do with some atrophy in his upper body from a shoulder injury, a lot like what happened to Carlos Thompson two or three years back."
As a sidebar, Wommack was asked his impressions of Jason Pellerin, who came in and finished the game after Kelly got hurt at QB for the Rebels, and Shea Petterson.
"He did a great job coming in cold like that and leading us to a couple of field goals and eating some clock," added Dave. "I have also seen Shea Patterson on the scout team and he is a special talent as well."