Ole Miss Football: 5 Keys to Success Against the Auburn Tigers
The Rebels of Ole Miss host the Tigers from Auburn University this week on the Bloody Mary’s and Mimosas’ time slot, 11:20am CDT on your SEC network of local TV stations. Let’s look at some keys Ole Miss will have to focus on, to get that coveted first SEC win under new coach Hugh Freeze.
College football is a volatile sport and if you get too close to the fire, you will most certainly get burned. Auburn fans can all attest to how volatile modern day football has become, thanks to parity, graduation, NCAA sanctions and other common attrition that occurs in a major football program. One year you can be flying high and winning National titles. Less than two years later, you can be on the absolute bottom of the league.
Auburn may very well be at the bottom of the SEC standings at the end of the year, but it won’t be because they have poor talent or depth at most positions.
For the Ole Miss coaching staff, preparing for a team with a 1-4 record, with so much potential and talent, can still give you cold sweats. Auburn is very capable of winning this game.
Here are some keys for an Ole Miss Victory:
Auburn’s Offensive Line
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In order for Ole Miss to pull off a win and break their terrible SEC winless streak, their defensive line must get through the young offensive line of Auburn, which only has one senior.
To date, this Auburn team is dead last in the SEC in sacks given up, with 17 total sacks for 127 yards lost.
Arkansas, which has been anemic at every facet of defense so far this year, registered eight sacks against Auburn last week, more then they had in their previous five games combined.
If Ole Miss wants to continue the offensive woes of Auburn, they must get to the quarterback.
Auburn’s Coaching Issues
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Ironically, what was a liability for Ole Miss last year is now an asset this year, quality coaching. Does Auburn have the coaches in place to weather this storm?
Gene Chizik is the same coach that led Auburn to the National Championship just two seasons ago, but the offensive coordinator and defensive coordinators are different. The offensive scheme is transitioning from a read-option spread offense to a Pro-Style offense.
The players were recruited to play in a spread offense. Under-sized running backs and scrambling quarterbacks don’t usually fit into a drop back NFL offense.
Ole Miss fans hope the learning curve for the players and coaches continue this week.
Ole Miss’ Defense
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This is something relatively new for Ole Miss fans. We have a defense now, or at least a better defense than in the past.
With the emergence of Denzel Nkemdiche and Cody Prewitt, and the recent success Ole Miss has had against Alabama and Texas A&M, the team is starting to get that “swagger” back on the the defensive side of the ball.
Ole Miss currently has the second most sacks in the SEC, right behind a dominate South Carolina.
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The time has come for Ole Miss QB Bo Wallace to play a complete game. Wallace is the most complete quarterback Ole Miss has.
If Ole Miss is going to re-build the program, it will be done on the right arm of Bo Wallace. He has to protect the ball and lead the team over a SEC program he is supposed to beat.
Ole Miss find themselves as a six point favorite in Oxford this week, but we all know Auburn has talent, and if they can force Wallace to make some mistakes, they can easily win this game.
The biggest key to this game is the performance of Bo Wallace.
Auburn’s Quarterback Carousel
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Who will start Saturday for Auburn, sophomore Kiehl Frazier, who was benched in last week’s loss to Arkansas, or Junior Clint Moseley who finished the Arkansas game?
Moseley had some success last year against Ole Miss, passing for 4 touchdowns in the Tigers 41-23 win over the Rebels. But neither Auburn QB has gotten a handle on Offensive Coordinator Scott Loeffler’s offense yet.
Frazier has the lowest QB rating among all SEC passers and Moseley threw for only one touchdown last week but two interceptions—his first multiple-interception game.
Head coach Gene Chizik has vowed to get more involved in the offensive game planning this week. Ole Miss fans can probably expect a more simplified offense based on running the football.
If Ole Miss can slow the running game and force Auburn to pass the ball, you may see a big win in Oxford for the Rebels this week.