1. What does last week’s upset win over LSU do for Hugh Freeze’s program going forward?
Matt Sigler (@SigNewton_2): The win over LSU is huge obviously, not only for the confidence of the team right now, but also in aspects such as recruiting heading forward. I feel like this team now believes they can play with anyone, even though the loss to Texas A&M showed that, and finish a game, which maybe wasn’t shown so much in that A&M game.
Cody Thomason (@TheCodyThomason): It instills the level of confidence that Ole Miss had earlier in the season before their losing streak. Beating the No. 6 team in the nation shows the Rebels that they can compete with anyone, and the momentum from this huge win should carry over to their game against Idaho.
David Collier (@DavidLCollier): It helps the most in recruiting. For a year and a half now, Hugh Freeze has been selling to recruits that Ole Miss was close to knocking some of the SEC powers off and that they could be the difference. That strategy worked well last year, but at some point, you need results. Last Saturday night, they got those results.
2. Now that both Jaylen Walton and I’Tavius Mathers have proven themselves as playmakers, what does Hugh Freeze do to utilize both players in addition to Jeff Scott when he’s back healthy?
Sigler: I think they will be able to sit Jeff Scott more often, allowing him to get his legs back under him and not forcing him to carry the ball 20-plus times a game like he was at some points last season.
Thomason: I think Freeze needs to use a running back by committee approach and split the carries among the three of them. Although he can still give Jeff Scott the most carries as the starter, he should not have a large discrepancy in the number of carries between the three backs.
Collier: Before the season, Hugh Freeze said he wanted to give Jeff Scott around 12 carries a game to keep his legs fresher at the end of the year. Early on, he didn’t do that, but Scott’s recent time forced Freeze to give both Jaylen Walton and I’Tavius Mathers more carries. They responded well, and I think they have Freeze’s trust going forward. I think all three will get significant carries going forward, which will help the offense.
3. On the defensive side of the ball, which player has impressed you the most this season?
Sigler: Sophomore safety Chief Brown. He had a great spring and fall camp, then comes out and begins to get some solid playing time split with Trae Elston, but I think the icing on top was last weekend when he led the team in tackles and had a huge interception against LSU.
Thomason: Cody Prewitt. He has continued being a good tackler and one of the strongest hitters on the team but has also stepped up in coverage, leading the SEC in interceptions this season. He is second on the team in tackles and has been a leader on the defense.
Collier: I’m going to go with freshman huskie Tony Conner. Everyone talked about Robert Nkemdiche, Laquon Treadwell and Laremy Tunsil, but not a lot of love was given to the “other” five-star freshman. Conner has stepped in and played tremendously at huskie, even gaining enough trust after one week to allow sophomore Mike Hilton to move to corner. Conner hasn’t gotten enough credit, but he’s still making plays for the Ole Miss defense.
4. What is the key for Ole Miss’ homecoming game against Idaho?
Sigler: Don’t overlook Idaho. Yes, Idaho is not a huge SEC powerhouse, but don’t go into the game sluggish and lackluster. This is a game you can use to fine-tune some things before you get back into real challenges. Also, Ole Miss will have to attempt to stay healthy, especially with a bye week coming up. Two weeks of rest for some of these injured guys could prove to be huge.
Thomason: To not take this game lightly. We all remember the Jacksonville State game from a few years ago, and no one wants a repeat of that performance at all. The key is to treat this game like any other week, give full effort and make sure that Idaho does not catch Ole Miss by surprise.
Collier: Play smart. The only way Idaho hangs around in this game is if Ole Miss allows them to by turning the ball over, making dumb penalties, missing assignments and missing tackles. If everyone wearing an Ole Miss uniform does their job, the Rebels will walk out with an easy win.