The schedule has been anything but easy for the Ole Miss Rebels this season. First, they traveled to Orlando to play the now-No. 2 ranked Florida State Seminoles then battled the Wofford Terriers on very short rest. This week, they have an even bigger matchup with the University of Alabama.
“To play the No. 1 team in the country at our home, it is an opportunity that I relish,” Head Coach Hugh Freeze said. “I love the attitude we had yesterday and we are excited about this great challenge. They are an outstanding football team. They are a little better defensively, believe it or not, than what they have been.”
The Crimson Tide held the USC Trojans to just six points in week one, then allowed just 10 points to Western Kentucky the ensuing week.
“They seem faster and they are very difficult to create any drives on,” Freeze said. “I think they have given up about 40 yards rushing a game, a little over 200 total offense against two pretty good offensive teams so far. Western Kentucky does a good job and they did a really good job against them and of course, USC. It is very difficult to sustain drives on and offensively they are an explosive offense with the vertical passing game. Of course, their run game is always one that you have to worry about stopping.”
Freeze knew what to expect when the Crimson Tide arrived in Oxford on Saturday.
“It is a typical Alabama football team that is going to be in the hunt for the SEC Championship and the NCAA Championship if that comes to creation,” Freeze said. “We get an opportunity to play them at home and we are eager for that chance.”
Like Florida State, Alabama will also be starting a freshman quarterback, Jalen Hurts, who has looked impressive in his first two weeks. Freeze likened Hurts’ arm strength and athleticism to the Seminoles’ Deondre Francois.
“He has been extremely accurate on vertical throws downfield,” Freeze said of Hurts. “And they have receivers who can go get it. They force you to commit people to stopping the run. They do a great job with their splits with receivers and that can give you some issues.”
“(Alabama Offensive Coordinator Lane Kiffin) does a great job scheming those things and his quarterback has been very accurate just like (Francois),” Freeze continued. “And he can hurt you with his legs also, so that’s just another dimension that makes them very tough to defend.”
Freeze was impressed by the team Head Coach Nick Saban had built during his tenure at Alabama.
“I have great respect for him and the job he’s done,” Freeze said. “They just continue to stockpile depth with 4- and 5-star kids.”
“Your depth chart may not be on the even playing field. But, if you have a two deep who are good enough to play and you get the right system and the right plan that has a chance to be successful against them, I think you have a fighting chance,” Freeze said. “I’ll know more about that after Saturday.”