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Rebels face quick turnaround in preparation for Wofford and the triple option

Rebels face quick turnaround in preparation for Wofford and the triple option

Putting Monday night’s loss to Florida State behind them, head coach Hugh Freeze and his Ole Miss football team are moving forward and learning from their mistakes.

But the Rebels have had a short week to prepare for Wofford, a team that runs the triple option offense, as seen shown in the Terriers’ 21-7 road victory over Tennessee Tech on Thursday, Sept. 1. Wofford finished that game with 388 total yards – 346 of them were on the ground.

In its opening game, Wofford (1-0) was led by senior halfback Will Gay, who rushed for 116 yards on nine carries. Senior fullback Lorenzo Long rushed for 91 yards and junior quarterback Brad Butler added 85 rushing yards and scored all three touchdowns.

Quick turnaround 

Once No. 18/19 Ole Miss (0-1) arrived back into Oxford early Tuesday morning, Freeze and the coaching staff quickly got to work on how to prepare the Rebels for the Terriers’ offense attack.

This is a tough turnaround. We got back at 4 a.m. and have to play the triple option this Saturday, which wasn’t real smart on our scheduling. It is totally different, usually you would like to have two weeks to get ready for it and basically we have two days. We just have to correct the mistakes and hopefully stay healthy for sure.

Coach Freeze on preparing for Wofford

Freeze and his staff will be making adjustments in the secondary following the loss of junior cornerback Ken Webster, who tore every ligament in his knee Monday night while deflecting the football away from Seminoles wide receiver Kermit Whitefield.

The loss of Webster, the team’s lock-down cornerback, leaves big shoes to fill but Freeze has been moving some players around in hopes of making up for an area that is now thin for the Rebels.

“The first name that would come over would be Derrick Jones,” Freeze said, referring to the 6-f0ot-2 senior wide receiver. “I think we are deep at receiver and we haven’t made that decision yet though, but that would be the first name that pops into my mind.”

Another concern for Ole Miss lies at the running back position. The Rebels lost redshirt freshman Eric Swinney for the season after he tore his anterior cruciate ligament against FSU. The redshirt freshman finished the game with one carry for six yards.

Ole Miss will look to senior running back Akeem Judd and junior Eugene Brazley to carry the load in the backfield. Then there are freshmen Jarrion Street and D’Vaughn Pennamon and sophomore D.K. Buford, who has impressed Freeze enough to get a shot at some live-game action.

During fall camp, Freeze appeared 50/50 on redshirting Pennamon but has now thrown the redshirt possibility out the window due to the team’s limitations at running back.

“He is going to get ready and we will see some action this Saturday,” Freeze said.

Freeze’s thoughts on Little, offensive line

Much focus going into the season opener was on the Rebels’ offensive line which lost all five starters from the Sugar Bowl. In speaking of the left tackle spot in particular, Freeze said:

Greg (Little) did good. Rod (Taylor) did pretty good. He got beat on one sack underneath, but again those guys have a lot of seniors over there that are expected to be in the playoffs. They are going to win their share, but early in the game, again, when we had the appearance of being balanced, I didn’t see any issues.

Freeze’s young offensive line had to face a very strong Florida State defensive front that adjusted when the Rebels quit calling running plays.

“You have guys like they have and they start moving their guys inside because of what we discussed. I thought the o-line actually played really well,” Freeze said.

Ole Miss vs. Wofford – Game information

Date: Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016
Time: 3 p.m. CT
Location: Oxford, Miss.
Venue: Vaught-Hemingway Stadium
Series: First meeting
Live Stats and Audio: OleMissSports.com

Feature image credit: Amanda Swain, The Rebel Walk

About The Author

Courtney Smith

Courtney is from Memphis and received his Bachelor's Degree in Fine Arts from the University of Memphis in May of 2014. He began his journalism career covering the Memphis Tigers Men's basketball team, which landed him an intern position on 730 Yahoo Sports Radio and a position with Rivals.com. A freelance writer for the Associated Press, Courtney is also a member of The Rebel Walk team and reports regularly on Ole Miss football and basketball. Courtney, the father of a six-year old girl named Soniyah, prefers to cover NCAA basketball and football, but is happy to report on any other sport that comes his way.

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