I had a chance to query Red Cup Rebellion’s JUCO All-American about tomorrow’s cross-divisional match up between the ‘Dawgs and Rebels. As you can see, he’s got some interesting takes, including some interesting ideas about how Ole Miss might, just might, manage to let the Red and Black win this one. Enjoy.
MD: What is the best way to stop the Ole Miss offense? Other than actually calling linemen for being downfield.
JUCO: Starting off with haymakers? I like it.
In general, the Ole Miss rushing attack has been fine but not great. That’s certainly where you start. You have to try to make Ole Miss run instead of passing. The best way to accomplish this is to have a pass rush that can overmatch the Ole Miss offensive line. We’re not totally sure at what level the line is capable of playing so far, since the first three opponents have been FSU, Wofford, and Alabama. Not great measuring sticks.
You also can’t lose contain on Chad Kelly on 3rd and 5ish. That’s when he does the most damage with his legs.
MD: Is Ole Miss the best two loss team in America?
JUCO: Yes they are. Obviously, the team could be 3-0, but what ifs are never a fun game to play. This Ole Miss team is capable of going up by 21 against FSU and Alabama. Now they just have to finish.
I should say I, shockingly, haven’t gotten to watch every 1-2 team on the country play, so… I guess it’s ‘possible someone is better.
MD: The Georgia offensive line has struggled to open holes in the run game this season. Are my worries about how they stack up against the Ole Miss defensive front seven as well-founded as I fear they are?
JUCO: Well, we certainly thought so. And then Bama rushed for over 300 yards. I would say that Ole Miss struggles most against scrambling quarterbacks, mostly due to a significant injury at defensive end and a lack of depth at the position. If you’re planning to run up the middle, you might want to alter that plan a bit.
Starting defensive tackles DJ Jones and Breeland Speaks are both above-average SEC starters and likely to be drafted at some point. Jones is an all-around balanced DT. He’s big but is more agile than you’d expect from a guy his size. Speaks, a sophomore, has a chance to be quite special. He’s not Robert Nkemdiche, but at times he’s not that far off. Sixth-year senior Isaac Gross and true freshman Benito Jones are super-disruptive. Gross has a lightning-quick first step and will single handedly end at least three plays in the game, essentially as soon as they begin. He’s a bit too small to be an every down player though. Benito Jones looks like a future first-team All-SEC player. His first step is almost as good as Gross’ and he’s much bigger. He has made big plays in each game so far this season and is only a true freshman.
MD: Ole Miss is a touchdown plus favorite in this one, should be motivated following last week, and gets UGA at home off a short turnaround following the Dawgs late night in CoMo last week. Is there any conceivable way the Rebels lose this one? What could it possibly be?
JUCO: There certainly is a way the Rebels could lose this one. They’ve blown huge leads in their only two games of note so far this season. The team can’t run when its opponent knows they’re going to run. That makes holding onto leads a little tougher. The Rebels also have a pretty rough secondary AND linebacker situation. Essentially, on defense once you get past the line, there’s nothing that really stands out in a positive light. Tons of young players are having to play in the secondary, and it hasn’t been great.
That said, I’m predicting an Ole Miss win. The passing game is just super-capable, with an elite quarterback and a silly-good group of receivers. On defense, the line can make enough of an impact often enough to rattle Georgia too, I think.
MD: For UGA fans traveling to the game, name one good local joint in Oxford that won't be overrun on Friday night. Chik-Fil-A doesn't count. We've been there five times this week.
JUCO: Hmmm… let me initially say that there is going to be a wait at pretty much anywhere that is good. Still, there’s a chance Lamar Lounge won’t have as big a wait as some other places. I’ve never actually been there (so I feel weird recommending it), but I’ve heard the pulled pork nachos are “on fleek.” That’s what the hip millennials say.
Thanks to JUCO All-American for playing along (and being a good sport about that linemen downfield joke, though seriously Ole Miss is freakin’ horrible about that). Here’s wishing for a clean game and Ole Miss becoming the best 1-3 team in America. Until later . . .