Chad Kelly stresses execution, playing for full 60 minutes as Rebels prepare for No. 15 Auburn
OXFORD, Miss. – At Monday’s weekly press conference, Chad Kelly stood at the podium with a resolute look on his face as he tried to explain why the Rebels have had trouble finishing games. In short, the Ole Miss quarterback explained that part of the answer begins with working hard every day in practice and executing for the full 60 minutes of each game.
The senior signal-caller is also searching for a solution to the Rebels’ third-quarter woes, as Ole Miss has been outscored 57-3 this season in that period.
“I wish I knew,” Kelly said, when asked about the third quarter scoring dearth.
Chad Kelly, Ole Miss QB
Kelly repeatedly stressed the importance of the team staying focused for an entire game.
“We’ve just got to execute,” he said. “We’ve got to make sure we keep on fighting and not have third quarter lapses. You’ve got to come out ready to go and finish the whole 60 minutes.”
Kelly has been in situations this season where he has had to carry the offense on his back and lead it downfield for points. This season, the running game has not been as much of a factor in the offensive attack as the Rebels would like — outside of the win against Memphis – and that has placed even more pressure on the Buffalo, New York native to be the hero.
However, it has not been easy for Kelly. In the Rebels’ last two games, he has been sacked four times, hurried nine times, and thrown three INTs.
On Monday morning, Kelly readily admitted that, at times, the offense can be pressing the issue for explosive plays.
“I think the biggest thing right now is the defense feeds off of our offense, and our offense feeds off of our defense” said Kelly, who leads the Southeastern Conference in passing yards (2058). “We have to make sure every series ends with a kick. (Extra point or field goal.) We have to keep working hard.”
Kelly reiterated just how important it is for the team to continue to work and get better in practice — and to stay motivated.
Rebels face stiff test against solid Auburn defense
Ole Miss (3-4, 1-3 SEC) has faced a gauntlet of talented programs since the beginning of the 2016 season, and things will not get any easier for the Rebels on Saturday night (6:15 p.m., ESPN) against Auburn’s defense, which is fifth in the SEC in sacks (18).
Junior defensive lineman Carl Lawson anchors the Tigers’ defensive front and has seven sacks. Defensive linemen Andrew Williams and Marlon Davidson and defensive tackle Montravius Adams each have recorded three sacks.
No. 15 Auburn (5-2, 3-1) is coming off a 56-3 win over then-No. 17 Arkansas, which was held to 215 yards of total offense, including 25 yards rushing.
“They’re playing as well as any team in the country, I think,” Kelly said about the Tigers, who have won four straight since starting the season 1-2. “From the first game until this past game, they’re rolling right now – offense, defense, and special teams,” he said.
Before he left the podium, Kelly again focused on the importance of practice and execution.
Chad Kelly on playing Auburn
Ole Miss and Auburn will kick off at 6:15 p.m. (CT) this Saturday. The game will be televised on the SEC Network.
(Feature image credit: Dan Anderson, The Rebel Walk)
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.