Behind Enemy Lines: The Daily Mississippian's Grayson Weir talks Alabama matchupBy Matthew Speakman | 09/27/2017 11:24pm
Alabama and Ole Miss will meet for the first time in Bryant-Denny Stadium since the Rebels defeated Alabama, 43-37, in 2015. Since then, there has been quite the turnover for Ole Miss. Hugh Freeze was shown the door after a scandal and Matt Luke took over. Shea Patterson also took the reins from quarterback Chad Kelley. To get more insight on Ole Miss, we spoke to the sports editor of the Daily Mississippian, Grayson Weir. Here is what he had to say:
Q: Ole Miss obviously has a gifted and dynamic quarterback in Shea Patterson. How much does having him in this game give Ole Miss a chance?
A: Shea Patterson gives Ole Miss a chance against nuclear warfare. His ability to extend plays is what makes him such a special player. With a big Crimson Tide defensive front rushing the passer on Saturday, Patterson is going to be pressured and needs to be the best offensive player on the field for the Rebels to stand a chance.
Q: Even though the Rebels lost Laquon Treadwell two years ago, they have replaced him with even more physical receivers such as AJ Brown. How much will his size help Ole Miss in the passing game?
A: Well, AJ Brown is a game-time decision. After going down holding his knee against Cal, we are hopeful that he will play. That being said, whether Brown is a go or not, the Nasty Wideouts are all of significant stature and the heart of Phil Longo’s offensive unit is sure to be a big factor.
Q: Alabama has yet to commit a turnover this season, but has struggled with that against Ole Miss. Are the Rebels focused on making Alabama turn the ball over?
Plain and simple, the only way the Rebels can walk off the field with a win on Saturday is if they force the Crimson Tide to turn the ball over.
Q: How do you feel the Rebels have adjusted since Matt Luke took over?
A: I’ve said it week in and week out; the adjustment has gone as smoothly as it possibly could have. Luke has been preparing for this job his whole life, the guys love playing for him and there is an undeniable sense of family within the locker room.
Q: Do you expect Ole Miss to try and establish a run game against Alabama or will they mostly try to air it out?
A: Well, the run game hasn’t gone so well through the first three weeks and the majority of Longo’s offense is passing plays. While establishing a complimentary run game has been something the coaches have hoped for thus far, if they couldn’t get it going against South Alabama, UT Martin and Cal, there’s no way it sparks against the No. 1 team in the nation. The ball will be in the air a lot.
Q: Freddie Roach is a former Alabama player and is now the DL coach at Ole Miss. What kind of an impact has he had on that unit?
A: Defensive tackle Breeland Speaks said it best at the SEC Media Days.
“Coach Roach has brought us a new technique over from Alabama,” Speaks said. “I’ve fallen in love with it. It’s just simple. It allows you to play football how you want to play football.”
Roach has come in and brought vigor to a defensive front that has the size and speed, making them pretty dangerous in the trenches.
Q: Finally, give us your score prediction and why you chose that.
A: I don’t like to make score predictions; I think it’s a bad omen. That being said, we all know the uphill battle the Rebels face walking in to Bryant-Denny Stadium. However, we’ve seen it happen before and if the Rebels can play their offensive game, coupled with a few defensive stops, miracles can happen.