Know Thy Enemy

Chuck Rounsaville of answered five questions about Ole Miss and his prediction for Saturday's game against Texas.

1) Last year's game was a Texas runaway. But the Rebels seemed to improve as the year went on. What was the turning point, and where has Ole Miss improved the most in the last year?

Chuck Rounsaville: Actually, the Texas game was the turning point. Ole Miss' defense had a tremendous amount of assignment busts and got embarrassed on their home field. It took that bitter pill to make them understand the importance of doing things the way the coaches draw them up. While Texas certainly beat them fair and square, the Rebel players knew that if they had carried out their assignments properly, it could have been a much tighter game. From that point on, they played within the system, having learned that lesson, and played good football most of the way in.

2) What are the expectations in Oxford this season?

Rounsaville: To get better each game and to continue building depth. The Rebel coaches had a tremendous recruiting campaign in 2013, signing the consensus number one player in the country, DE Robert Nkemdiche, and several other nationally rated players, but good depth in certain spots is still lacking and quite a few true freshmen are playing big roles on the team. It's all about "the process" with Coach Hugh Freeze and he and his staff are still in the early stages of that process.

3) Obviously, Ole Miss grabbed headlines this past offseason for bringing in one of the nation's top recruiting classes. How many of those guys are playing major roles already, and what have you seen from them?

Rounsaville: Nkemdiche is starting at defensive end, Laremy Tunsil will probably get his first start at left tackle against Texas, Laquon Treadwell is the starting slot receiver, Tony Connor is the starting Husky (hybrid LB position), and Evan Engram is the starting tight end. OG Austin Golson is also playing a big role on the offensive line. They are all raw, but talent-wise, they are everything they were expected to be. The Ole Miss coaches know they are going to make mistakes, but they have decided to live with those miscues and let them grow up "in the fire."

4) If you were a member of the Texas coaching staff and scheming against Ole Miss, how would you both attack and defend the Rebels?

Rounsaville: Play your game — balance on offense is key. On defense, be in the right spots because the Rebel offense exploits any missteps.

5) What's your prediction for the game Saturday?

Rounsaville: A barn burner. I look for Ole Miss to play a much cleaner game than a year ago and I look for the Longhorns to be mad as hell about losing to BYU. Both teams have a lot to prove and both teams can make this into a statement game. Here's hoping it goes down to the last play. That would be some real drama.

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