Georgia Tech looks to slow down Ole Miss’ tempo as it prepares to face speedy Rebels
OXFORD, Miss. – At Tuesday’s Georgia Tech football press conference, it almost sounded as if Yellow Jackets’ coach Geoff Collins was preparing for a track meet this week.
Ole Miss (2-0) heads to Atlanta to take on Tech (1-1) at Grant Field Saturday. After beating Western Carolina last week, Georgia Tech immediately turned its attention to the Rebels’ fast-paced offense and looking for ways to slow it down.
“It’s a big challenge to replicate out at practice where we’re trying our best to simulate what it’s going to be on Saturday,” Collins said.
“But once it starts rolling, they know what they’re doing, they’re very fast at what they do, and they execute at a high level, and they’ve got really good players running it as well. So, we’ve got a big challenge ahead of us and we’re going to need every day of prep and every minute to get ready to play at a high level.”
Georgia Tech head coach Geoff Collins on Ole Miss
Ole Miss will not be the only explosive team the Jackets have seen this season. Georgia Tech opened the season with a 41-10 loss to then fourth-ranked Clemson, but that game was scoreless at the end of the first quarter and only 14-3 at halftime.
This will be the Rebels’ first game away from Oxford and the first against a Power Five school. Ole Miss has not announced a starting quarterback for Saturday, but according to Collins, either Jaxson Dart or Luke Altmyer is capable of success with their surrounding cast.
“They’re an explosive offense, both quarterbacks are very, very talented. They’ve got a host of receivers that can make explosive plays and stretch the field vertically and an offensive line that is big, it’s physical and the pace of their offense and the multiplicity of their offense is a big challenge.”
Georgia Tech’s Coach Collins on the Ole Miss offense
To counter the Rebels’ attack, Georgia Tech will look to a couple of linebackers who have stepped up as leaders on its defense.
Senior Ayinde Eley leads the team with 20 tackles, two for loss, a sack, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. Next to him, senior Charlie Thomas has a team-high 15 solo tackles, two for loss, a sack and an interception.
Collins is in his fourth season at Georgia Tech and brought with him a pro-style offense after the Yellow Jackets had employed an option attack for more than a decade. He hopes to keep the Rebels’ offense on the sideline by controlling the time of possession.
Dontae Smith leads the Ramblin’ Wreck in rushing with 132 yards on 20 carries with three touchdowns. Quarterback Jeff Sims has run 21 time for 89 yards.
Through the air, Sims has completed 31-of-53 for 264 yards. He has thrown for one touchdown and been intercepted twice.
Collins on Coach Kiffin
There is another matchup Saturday that has caught Collins’ attention. That would be the one between himself and Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin.
“I think he’s established himself as one of the elite play callers in college football. The scheme is very multiple, very fast, they execute at a high level and then they’ve got tremendous players all over the field.”
Coach Collins on playing against Kiffin’s offense
Kickoff on ABC is set for 2:30 p.m.
(Feature image credit: Josh McCoy, Ole Miss)
Steve Barnes joins The Rebel Walk staff as a senior writer and brings a trifecta of journalistic experience. As a writer, he has covered college sports for Rivals.com, Football.com and SaturdayDownSouth.com as well as served as a beat writer for various traditional newspapers.
He has been a broadcaster for arena football and several national tournament events for the National Junior College Athletic Association as well as hosting various shows on radio.
A former sports information director at Albany (Ga.) State University and an assistant at Troy and West Florida, he has helped host many NCAA conference, regional and national events, including serving five years on the media committee of the NCAA Division II World Series.
Barnes, a native of Pensacola, Fla., attended Ole Miss in 1983-84, where his first journalism teacher was David Kellum. The duo has come a long way since that time.
He will bring a proven journalistic track record, along with a knack for finding the out-of-the-ordinary story angles to The Rebel Walk.
Barnes continues to reside in Pensacola a mere ten minutes from the beach because he does have taste and a brain.