August 21, 2014

Ole Miss Preview: The Streak Ends

After a much needed and deserved week off, the Hogs make their much anticipated return to Little Rock to face the Ole Miss Rebels (4-3, 1-2).  The 11:21 kickoff will be televised on the SEC Network.

Winning the last two games has seemed to put a little pep back into the Razorbacks step.  We know…we know, it was against the two worst teams in the conference, but it’s more about the psyche of the players right now than the ego.

“Everybody in our locker room knows we can beat anybody if we play like we can play,” Wilson said.  “We’re a very dangerous team.  We’ve always been that way; it’s just a matter of putting everything together.”

The bye week came at a good time, allowing the Hogs to recharge and heal up for the stretch run.  As it turns out, it’s a wash this week as the Rebels enjoyed their bye last week as well.

The Rebels are coached by Hugh Freeze (4-3, 1st year), and what a job he has done in his first year.  Some might say it’s worthy of SEC Coach of the Year honors — we would not disagree.  The dumpster was half full of ashes when he arrived, remnants from the former regime.

In their last game vs. Auburn, the Rebels brought a 16-game SEC losing streak to an end, jumping another hurdle with their 41-20 win.  The game was close for three quarters, then Ole Miss hit the gas (17 fourth quarter points), as Auburn melted.

Freeze was on the Tim Brando Show last week and provided some insight into breaking the streak, and what he thinks about the matchup this week in Little Rock.

The Rebels are a true Spread team on offense, employing the ‘Hurry-Up-No-Huddle’ (HUNH) concepts.  It’s all about tempo and rhythm.  Led by sophomore quarterback Bo Wallace (6-4, 205), the Rebels are about as balanced as you can get: 211.1 rushing yards per game (26th nationally) and 229.6 passing yards per game (64th nationally).

Wallace has proven to be a willing runner when he breaks the pocket.  Junior running back Jeff Scott (562 yards, 5 TDs) is a burner and appears headed for a 1,000+ yard season, while sophomore Donte Moncrief (480 yards, 5 TDs) leads the receiving corps.

On defense, our old friend and former coordinator Dave Wommack leads the Ole Miss defense.  Wommack followed Freeze from Arkansas State to Oxford.  The Rebels will work mostly from a 4-3 look, but have used some 3-3-5 against passing teams like Texas A&M.

If you remember, Coach Wommack likes to bring pressure — as evidenced by the Rebels tackles for loss stats (7.86 TFL per game, 8th nationally).  Linebacker Denzel Nkemdiche (9 TFL, 44 total tackles) leads the way as a redshirt freshman.

For the Hogs to win Saturday, they’ve got to pick up on offense where they left off against Kentucky.  And on defense, we like what we’ve seen from our young corners Will Hines, Tevin Mitchell and Davyon McKinney of late.  They will be challenged by Freeze’s spread attack.

After ULM, the Little Rock faithful deserve a win.  The Hogs are favored by 6.

  • Defense Wins Championships

    The Hogs need another win and win I believe they will with a 31-17 score over Ole Miss. Defense will step up with a great passing and running attack. Actually Freeze-ball is the type of ball that many Razorback fans seem to like; so, they should enjoy the match up. In fact, Freeze-ball is perhaps the type of coach that should be brought in. Win, or lose, it brings excitement in stadiums, but Defense with an adequate offense that can run the ball is really what wins big games. Gotta be able to stop people…gotta be able to run the ball consistently in the crunch and inside the red zone. Fans gotta be more patient with coaches, too. You are not going to be in top 10 every year. Go Hogs have fun in Little Rock!

    • GolfHog

      If we have learned anything in the last 10 years it’s ‘COACHING wins championships.’ Offense, defense, special teams, running, throwing, blitzing; well coached teams with good schemes, good chemistry, and few mistakes win, period.
      Personally, I would prefer good, balanced offense, strong defense, and exciting special teams. You have a coach for every 3 players on the field. I don’t know why you have to just do one thing.
      Saban runs and plays defense sure. But he always has good QB a complete passing attack that will react to whatever your scheme to stop his run may be. The Les Miles/Houston Nutt/Woody Hayes style of football may be statistcally superior but it’s boring for players and fans. You don’t have to go Big 12 crazy to play a little offense.
      I don’t thing fans get enough credit for knowing how their program is doing. Fans can be patient with someone who is working the problem. Way too often we are told to be patient with John Pelphry and Houston Nutt when everyone knows the outcome before they start. I can support a building program every few years. It is part of college football. It is the cycle. But, talk straight, tell the truth about what you are doing.

      • Porcine

        Dat’s what I tink.

        • John

          Coaches ALL are OVER rated!