Ole Miss Preview: Offense

When Texas travels to play Ole Miss on Saturday, the Longhorns will take on a spread offense that pressures defenses in a variety of ways.

The Rebels enter Saturday's contest on a high note offensively. They're 2-0, and are averaging 38.5 points per game, 551.5 yards per game and are putting up an explosive 7.5 yards per play.

Hugh Freeze built his coaching reputation at Briarcrest Christian School — where he coached Michael Oher of The Blind Side — on a no-huddle spread attack, so it isn't any surprise that you see those influences in Ole Miss's offense.

The Rebels utilize three or more wide receivers on most plays and show a ton of zone read and midline read plays. The system appears to fit the Rebels' personnel, as they have the requite run-pass balance (282.5 rushing yards per game, 269 passing yards per game) to be difficult to defend, and quarterback Bo Wallace does a nice job handling the ball and creating big plays on play-action.

A sophomore transfer from East Mississippi Community College, by way of Arkansas State, Wallace (6-4 204) ranks eighth in the country in passer rating. He's completed 76.1 percent of his passes for 438 yards and five touchdowns to one interception. Wallace is also the Rebels' leading rusher, carrying the ball 24 times for 135 yards (5.6 yards per carry) and two touchdowns.

But despite the fact that Wallace leads the team in rushing, it's hard to find fault with the Rebels' running back duo of senior Randall Mackey (5-10 195) and junior Jeff Scott (5-7 170). The two combined to rush 23 times for 178 yards against UTEP. True freshman Jaylen Walton (5-8 167) is a speedster and a big-play threat. He's carried the ball just five times, but produced two runs of 10-or-more yards, and Walton hauled in a 51-yard touchdown pass on a wheel route against UTEP. Two of his seven offensive touches have resulted in touchdowns.

When Ole Miss used a fullback in short yardage situations, the role fell to H.R. Greer (5-11 222), who caught the game-clinching touchdown pass against UTEP.

Wallace has spread the ball around well, with 12 players catching at least one pass. Only two players have double-digit catches, including Donte Moncrief (6-3 216), the Rebels' big-play threat. Moncrief has touchdown catches of 53 and 55 yards on the season, and averages 88 receiving yards per game. Korvic Neat (5-9 164) and Ja-Mes Logan (6-3 195) are the starters at the 'H' and 'Z' spots respectively, and each has a catch of 25 or more yards already.

Ferbia Allen (6-4 253) and Jamal Mosley (6-4 246) are a nice tight end combination. Allen is the better blocker, though he catch catch the ball. Mosley is the receiving threat, and is averaging almost 20 yards per catch. Keep an eye on him down the seams.

It would be difficult to find too much fault with the Ole Miss offensive line, as the Rebels are averaging 282.5 rushing yards per game at 6.2 yards per pop. And after allowing three sacks against Central Arkansas, the Ole Miss offensive line only allowed one against tougher competition in a UTEP team that sacked Landry Jones three times a week earlier.

The strength of that offensive line is up the middle. Center Evan Swindall (6-4 295) is on the Rimington Watch List. Right guard A.J. Hawkins (6-1 310) was the SEC Co-Offensive Lineman of the Week for his performance against UTEP. And left guard Aaron Morris (6-5 330) may be the most talented of the offensive line bunch. Emmanuel McCray (6-5 316) stepped up in the spring to win the left tackle job. And City College of San Francisco transfer Pierce Burton (6-6 289) has been impressive early on at right tackle.


Horns Digest Top Stories