Ole Miss defensive line and secondary look to work together to stop Tulsa aerial attack
OXFORD, Miss. – Tulsa has the top-ranked passing offense in college football. The Golden Hurricane will blow into Vaught-Hemingway Stadium Saturday to take on Ole Miss, and the Rebels seem to have a philosophy on how to contain that aerial attack – it is hard for the quarterback to throw the ball if he is on his back.
Senior safety AJ Finley is looking forward to the challenge of playing a high-flying offense, especially when he knows Tulsa’s quarterback will have to make quick decisions.
“Yeah, they’re going to throw the ball a lot,” Finley said. “So, I feel like if the DBs, if we have a good game, the defense is going to do good. And when the D-line does good, it’s going to be a long game for them if they can’t throw the ball, I haven’t seen much of their run game, but they pass the ball a pretty good bit. So, if we come out and stop the passing game, it is going to be a long game for them.”
Tulsa has only surrendered four sacks in three games, while in the same time Ole Miss has collected 13.
“Our d-line has been outstanding so far this year. I feel like they’ve approached the game with a different attitude than they have in the previous years, but they have definitely been very, very dominant through the three games we played.”
Safety AJ Finley
One of those defensive linemen, Tavius Robinson, believes the pass rush began before the regular season began three weeks ago.
“I think it all comes down to how we practice every day and throughout fall camp,” Robinson said. “Just really focusing on being relentless to the ball and just everything we do, so it’s just it’s how we play and how the style of defense we want to play so it’s something we’ve really been focused on for sure.”
Robinson has six tackles on the year and his biggest play was last week when he sacked the Georgia Tech quarterback on a fourth-and-goal situation to preserve a 42-0 shutout.
Linebacker Khari Coleman leads the team with 2.5 sacks, and Jared Ivey has 1.5. All told, 12 players are in the sack column on the stat sheet.
The Rebels have also hurried the quarterback ten times this season.
Ole Miss hopes to harass the quarterback again Saturday, but the defense has kept its priorities straight.
“We always want to get off after the quarterback but we’re going to focus on stopping all the run plays first. (Then we will) force them to throw and then yeah, get after the quarterback.”
Tulsa and Ole Miss kick off at 3 p.m. Saturday in a game that can be seen on the SEC Network.
(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.