It’s no secret that Alabama head coach Nick Saban and his defense are not fond of spread, up-tempo offenses.
When the Rebels were able to use their up-tempo pace against the Tide last year, the Alabama defense had few answers for it.
Texas A&M was successful a few weeks ago for the second straight year using their scheme, similar to Ole Miss’, to rack up 628 yards of total offense in a loss to the Crimson Tide.
The Rebels’ lack of depth last season did not allow them to run at the pace they would like for long last season. That really hurt them when they faced the two-time defending champions.
This year, the Rebels still aren’t where they would like to be as far as depth is concerned on the offensive line, especially after losing junior Aaron Morris for the season, but they will be able to run the fast pace more often.
“I think we can put points on them,” quarterback Bo Wallace said on Monday. “I think we can put points on anybody. We just have to show up and play. It’s the same thing every week. We have to stay on schedule, control the tempo and don’t have any turnovers.”
Just a year ago, Ole Miss lost to Texas in an embarrassing fashion. Then, they came back and won in a blowout this year. Similar to the turnaround the Rebels experienced in just a season against the Longhorns, they will be trying to improve their fortunes against the Crimson Tide in 2013.
“I think it’s the exact same as Texas,” Wallace said. “We didn’t really know what to expect going in. Now we do, we’ve played in a lot of games like that, close games. It’s going to be a close game, I feel like. So we just have to go in there and give it our all.”
With added depth on the offensive line and even more receivers and more experience at running back, the Rebel offense should be able to run more tempo drives, with the hopes it works as well as it did in 2012 and similar to how it did for Texas A&M just a few weeks ago.
“Oh yeah, we’re going to go pretty fast,” junior wideout Donte Moncrief said. “That’s our offense. Once we get you tired, we like to throw the ball deep. So we’re going to run the ball, play action and use some deep threats.”
The success that Texas A&M had against the Alabama defense, not only served as a bit of a guide to how to attack the Tide, but also gave the Rebels some confidence knowing they have similar strengths.
“If the ball is in the air, the receivers have got to make a play,” Moncrief said. “(Texas A&M wide receiver) Mike Evans was making great plays. So we just have to come out and focus, get better in practice and take shots.”
Another positive for the Rebel offense going into their matchup with Alabama is that they return junior receiver Vince Sanders. The Macon native was the playmaker opposite of Moncrief last season. In his absence, senior Ja-Mes Logan has played out wide, which is out of position for him. Logan will now move back into the slot, which should really open up the Rebel offense even more.
“It’s exciting,” Wallace said of Sanders’ return. “Glad to have him back. Seems like he’s been gone forever. Excited to have him.”
It’s not likely that Ole Miss will have anyone put up the numbers that the Aggies’ Evans did against Alabama, but with Sanders returning to an already deep unit, Wallace will have plenty of weapons available to try to pick apart the Crimson Tide defense.
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