With another tough SEC contest coming up against No. 12 Auburn (4-1, 2-0 SEC) Saturday morning, Ole Miss head coach Matt Luke and his staff believe the best way for the Rebels to bounce back is to simplify the plays and avoid having the players overthink as plays are unfolding.
“Whenever you’re struggling, I think the more you can eliminate, where guys can just focus, that’s what that means,” Luke said earlier this week. “You take some stuff out, where you can just focus and rep the same thing against everything you could possibly get.
“I think the more that you simplify, the faster the kids will play, and the more they will understand what is going on and can problem solve on the field. If you have the best schemes in the world, it doesn’t matter. It is not about what the coaches know, it’s about what the kids can execute on the field.”
Head coach Matt Luke
Auburn’s ground game
Like the last four opponents the Rebels have seen, Auburn is effective at running the football. In their 49-10 rout over then-No. 24 Mississippi State last weekend, the Tigers rushed for 244 yards. Kerryon Johnson led the way with 116 yards and three scores.
As a team, Auburn is averaging 208.4 yards per game, which ranks 37th in the country. Ole Miss’ rushing defense ranks 116th in country (229.3 ypg).
“Offensively, they are going to run the ball and attack us in the speed sweep motion,” Luke said about the Tigers, who rushed for 307 in last season’s 40-29 victory over the Rebels in Oxford.
“They are going to take our eyes and mess with our safety fits, and they have two very good running backs, a good offensive line, and then good receivers they stretch the field with.“
Head Coach Matt Luke on Auburn
Ole Miss defensive standouts
Thus far this season, DeMarquis Gates leads the Rebels in tackles with 33 total (21 solo). He also has 2 passes broken up and two tackles for loss. Zedrick Woods isn’t far behind with 28 total tackles (21 solo). Woods has broken up three passes on the season. Victor Evans leads the team in tackles for loss with five.
C.J. Moore leads the team with two interceptions, while Javien Hamilton has one.