Thursday, November 1, 2012

Ole Miss - causes for concern

Hugh Freeze's first team in Oxford has proven that they are no longer going to just roll over and be satisfied with moral victories. They're a scrappy bunch, their defense flies to the football and they bring a very balanced offense.

On offense Ole Miss relies on the diminutive legs of junior Jeff Hall and the two way threat of quarterback Bo Wallace. If you've seen them play you already know that this is a much better offense than the one we faced last week. Hall can't carry the team on his shoulders to the tune that a Lattimore could for 30+ carries a game, but he's shifty, strong and has good burst. Through the air lanky wideout Donte Moncrief is Wallace's primary target averaging 13.85 yards a catch and has five of the teams 12 receiving touchdowns.

The true challenge to stopping Ole Miss on offense is the same as it has been for the last few games: contain the quarterback, make them earn every yard and gradually wear them down. Grantham's unit showed they could rise to the challenge last week. The bar is raised Saturday afternoon in Sanford though.

On defense I'm only going to throw one thing at you: 3.89 yards per carry. That's what they're giving up. Mighty Bama rushed 34 times for just 125 yards in their win against the Rebels a few weeks ago. They try to make offenses one dimensional. So we'll need a good game from Murray and his receivers.

Additional concerns/casual observations:

Tree - something just isn't right with #9. He plays with speed and his God given talent but he's also missing assignments, especially in pass defense. On one series Saturday he just missed an interception that would have easily been six points, then he completely whiffed on a tackle of Gillislee in the open field. A few weeks ago I passed this things off as getting back in the groove of things. Now I'm wondering if he'll find it.

The short of it may be, our linebacker rotation needs some tweaking. Herrera hasn't been the same since the suspensions were up. And Ogletree hasn't been the same player that we grew so fond of last season.

Secondary - Swann has turned into an SEC caliber starter. Smith needs to rise to the occasion on the other side so we can use Commings in the slot on nickel coverage.

Controlled aggression - we contained Driskel well Saturday. But I believe a lot of that had to do with Florida's incompetence on offense. Whether it was Coach Pease not taking advantage or Driskel just making the wrong read, we continually over pursued Gillislee on the read option which left Driskel open to make one of his signature runs like he had in previous weeks. Luckily the gator QB never burned us. But Ole Miss' Bo Wallace is surely getting an eye full on film this week. So Grantham's crew still needs to play with intensity and reckless abandon, but has the added challenge this week of maintaining their assignments and not reverting back to their old ways (read: Lexington).