Ole Miss fell to 5-3 on the season after losing to Auburn at home last weekend, with the theme of the game being the Rebels’ inability to score touchdowns in the red zone.
The Rebels failed to score a touchdown on Auburn’s defense until just two minutes left in the contest. The other three Rebel drives that made it to the red zone stalled out, resulting in three field goals and nine points.
When the other team is putting the ball in the end zone, settling for field goals won’t win games against SEC competition.
“We’ve just got to eliminate the little things (in the red zone),” offensive lineman Alex Givens said. “I know I had an offsides. When you get down (to the red zone) you’ve got to focus. It’s the little things we’ve got to clean up. Once we get those cleaned up we’ll be really efficient.”
Although Auburn’s front seven is regarded as on of the best in the SEC, Givens doesn’t believe that’s an excuse for the Rebels’ lack of red zone production.
On Auburn’s front being a problem for the offensive line, “No, not really,” Givens said. “We’ve just got to focus on the little things. Get those done and that’ll take care of the big things.”
Other than Mississippi State, Auburn is the toughest front seven Ole Miss will face the rest of the season, which should bode well for the offense. Givens alluded to the ‘little things’ and elaborated on what he believes the team can improve upon.
“Staying focused, not making little penalties and winning your one on one battles. I think you’ve got to lock in and do your job,” Givens said.
Even though Ole Miss is coming off its third loss of the season, the morale in the locker room is as good as it’s been all year. According to Givens, the team’s mindset is business as usual.
“(In the locker room) there’s a really good mood right now,” Givens said. “We’re 5-3 going into the bye week. We would have liked to get that win last week, but we’re not down at all. We’re just coming back to work, getting better at the little things this week and focusing on the red zone.”
With four SEC games remaining on the schedule, the Rebels will need to lock in for the home stretch. Ole Miss will have two full weeks to prepare before South Carolina comes to town Nov. 3.