Ole Miss QB Chad Kelly using bye week to prepare for Arkansas
OXFORD, Miss. – Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly has made good use of his team’s bye week, focusing on taking care of the football and prepping for the game with Arkansas—an opponent who placed a dent in the Rebels’ Southeastern Conference Championship hopes a season ago.
The Rebels were undefeated in the SEC Western Division heading into the showdown against the Razorbacks last November, with a good shot at making it to the SEC Championship game in Atlanta. But Arkansas, led by quarterback Brandon Allen, crushed Ole Miss’ hopes with a 4th-and-25 conversion from the 40-yard line in overtime that eventually set up the Razorbacks’ winning touchdown.
Both quarterbacks had solid performances in a game that had much at stake for both programs. Allen completed 33-of-45 passes for 442 yards and six TD’s. Kelly did everything he could to put the Rebels in position to keep their road to Atlanta alive, completing 24-of-34 passes for 368 yards and three TD’s.
Kelly also ran for 110 yards and three scores on 11 carries.
Kelly looks back on last year’s game
But when you ask him about that game, he doesn’t remember his stellar performance. Instead, he quickly goes back to the mistakes he believes he made in the game—ones he felt cost Ole Miss the win and a trip to Atlanta.
I remember three things. I missed on a Cali route. I missed on a glance, and I missed on a drag route coming across the field. I think if I hit those three, we win the game and we’re probably in the SEC Championship game. Looking back at the game, that’s what I remember the most, and it stinks that that’s what you remember from a good game like that. But it’s a game of inches. You’ve just got to keep working.
Chad Kelly on last year’s loss to the Razorbacks
And working is what Kelly has been doing during the team’s bye week. When Kelly, who’s second in the SEC in passing yards (1,596), isn’t on the practice field with his teammates, he’s in the film room paying close attention to Arkansas’ defense. So far this season, the Razorbacks have recorded 13 sacks, five interceptions (three returned for TD’s), and five forced fumbles.
Earlier this week, Kelly discussed the Razorbacks as well as what the Rebels need to do to win the game.
They’re a good football team. They do the same stuff they’ve been doing. That’s who they are and what they do. They recruit well and build those guys along. They’re big, physical and can run a little bit. We’re just going to have to play a good game. A good solid execution game, take care of the football and we should win.
Chad Kelly on playing Arkansas
Kelly throwing to most-talented wide receiving corps in the nation
Occasionally, Kelly has been a little anxious with the football, trying to force one into coverage. However, part of Kelly’s temptation to take some risks comes from the confidence he has in his receivers; he believes he has the most-talented wide receiving corps in the nation–and it’s hard to argue with him.
With the speed, size, and athleticism from the likes of Quincy Adeboyejo, A.J. Brown, Van Jefferson, Damore’ea Stringfellow, Markell Pack, DaMarkus Lodge, and Evan Engram, one certainly couldn’t blame Kelly for finding it somewhat difficult, at times, to throw the football out of bounds.
The 14th-ranked Rebels (3-2, 1-1 SEC) are second in the conference in receiving yards (1,667). Engram leads the SEC amongst the receivers with 479 yards, while Stringfellow is eighth in the conference (305).
“I see those guys every single day make fantastic catches and do this and that,” Kelly said about his receivers. “That’s where I get it in my head that ‘Hey, they can make a play right here,’ but like I said, if it’s not there, throw it away. You’ve got to take every day for what it’s worth and keep getting better.”
Ole Miss enjoys a bye week this Saturday and resumes play on Saturday, October 15 at 6:00 p.m. (CT) against Arkansas in Fayetteville. The game will be televised on ESPN.
(Feature image credit: Josh McCoy, Ole Miss Athletics)
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.