Ole Miss’ home opener against FCS Wofford offers a matchup between two teams that couldn’t be any more philosophically different. The Rebels, under the leadership of Chad Kelly, would like to run and gun all afternoon, while the Terriers prefer to grind along astride the archaic triple option attack.
Many questions loom large for Saturday’s affair in the Vaught, and the great majority have nothing to do with the final score. Ole Miss’ beleaguered secondary and thin linebacking corps have an interesting task ahead of them fresh off a loss to FSU’s more normative mode of downfield attack. Containing the triple option — which is so old as to seem like Linear B to most of today’s defensive coordinators — requires players to stay in their lanes, not cheat or bite on misdirections, and maintain hat-on-hat coverage. In short, a perfect opportunity for the new faces in the Landsharks’ defense to get back to basics and exercise fundamentals in a full-speed setting.
On the other side of the ball, the Rebs’ offensive line — especially its pass protect sets — struggled mightily at times against FSU, so perhaps like the defense a lower intensity opponent will help to smooth those wrinkles along the front five.
Another interesting twist to keep an eye on will be the relative health, performance and snap counts for Akeem Judd, who appeared to get roughed up against FSU but eventually came back to finish the game. With Eric Swinney out for the year, Ole Miss’ depth at running back took a severe nosedive for the worse, and the Rebs will need every bit of Judd they can get if they hope to be a multidimensional team.
Above all, if or when adversity strikes en masse as it did to open the second half on Monday, how will Hugh Freeze’s men react?
How to watch
Where: Oxford, Miss.
Time: 3 p.m. CT
TV: SEC Network
Online Streaming: WatchESPN