Ole Miss

Published on November 20th, 2016 | by Carver Rayburn


A Deplorable Defense: The 103rd Ranked Defense in the Nation is in Need of a Coaching Change

Kent State. Idaho. Temple. Old Dominion. They all give up less yards per game than the 450 Ole Miss yields. With NCAA sanctions an uncertainty, head coach Hugh Freeze can’t afford to NOT make drastic changes on the defense. Precedent at Ole Miss proves that would be a costly mistake.

One year removed from the Eli Era at Ole Miss, Head Coach David Cutcliffe was challenged with demands from the administration and fans in regards to future plans with the coaching staff. The Rebels had just finished a 4-7 season and changes were expected – especially on the defensive side of the ball – to correct the decent into the SEC cellar. Ole Miss had produced a 10-3 record and a Cotton Bowl victory to boot in the previous year during Manning’s senior season.

Cutlciffe refused to fire any assistants or provide a detailed plan to administrators and was subsequently let go after his only losing season in six years. Then Athletic Director Pete Boone said at the time: “He (Cutcliffe) preferred the status quo, keeping things how they are. I didn’t hear or see a plan to make that better.”

The situation is eerily similar in 2016. Just one year removed from a 10-3 season and a Sugar Bowl win, the Rebels are dangerously close to missing a bowl game and finishing the year with a losing record. Only a win over Mississippi State this weekend can allow Ole Miss to go bowling for the fifth straight year.

The defense has been among the nation’s worst. Currently, there are only 20+ teams in the NCAA that give up more yards per game than Ole Miss. That’s not an error. Just 20. Post losing 38-17 to Vanderbilt, the Rebels were ranked 103rd in Total Defense. It’s time for a change. Immediately.

Freeze hasn’t said much, if anything to the public about changes he plans to make on the defensive side of the ball. We remain hopeful that the fifth year head coach will do just that.

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About the Author

Carver Rayburn was born and raised an Ole Miss Rebel in Oxford, Mississippi. He has worked for many newspapers and magazines in both editorial and advertising, including OffBeat Magazine, The Hattiesburg American, The Meridian Star, The Neshoba Democrat, The Madison County Journal, The Clarke County Tribune, The New Albany Gazette, Southeastern Football Saturdays, and Rebel Yell. He currently lives in New Orleans and has a four-year-old son, Hart. You can contact Carver at carverrayburn@hotmail.com.

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