Published on October 12th, 2015 | by Alex Thiel0
Rebels to face Undefeated Tigers in Memphis this Weekend
Following a decisive win over New Mexico State in their Homecoming game, the Ole Miss Rebels hit the road again this week for a showdown with the undefeated, #22 Memphis Tigers.
At his Monday morning press conference, Coach Hugh Freeze called Memphis an “outstanding football team” that is “playing with great confidence.”
In particular, Freeze was highly complimentary of Memphis QB Paxton Lynch, calling him “one of the better [quarterbacks] I’ve seen on film.” Lynch has had much success piloting Memphis head coach Justin Fuente’s offense in 2015, passing for over 1500 yards with a 70.5% completion percentage through five games.
“Justin [Fuente] has always been a good offensive coach, and his staff game-plans very well,” said Freeze. “Their scheme is very sound… [T]here’s no question, they’re one of the better offenses in the country.”
As for his own team, Freeze said that he was pleased with the New Mexico State game film, and that he hopes that his team can take this break from conference play to get a little healthier and continue shuffling the lineup. Key players Jaylen Walton, Demore’ea Stringfellow, and Justin Bell are all expected to return to action this weekend.
In regard to the struggles in the punt return game, Freeze noted that both Markell Pack and Tony Bridges will see snaps at PR, given Carlos Davis’s recent struggles.
“We’ve got to improve there,” said Freeze of the special teams’ struggles. “The number one goal of your punt return unit is to have the football, and too many times this year, that hasn’t been the case.”
The Rebels have had varying success on the road thus far on the year, defeating Alabama and struggling to get anything going vs. Florida.
“Playing undefeated teams on the road, there’s no question there’s an experience factor that comes with that, that we need to draw upon,” said Freeze. “Some good that we’ve done, and some bad that we need to improve on.”
On the defensive side of the ball, Freeze stressed the need to get off the field on third down. As for the offense, Freeze said that his offensive staff “need[s] to make sure we feel really, really good about those first few calls.”
“Hopefully, we have a few successful plays early to get us started right.”
Freeze also said that he hopes that Rebel Nation will have a good turnout in Memphis this Saturday, a “road game” that is right in Ole Miss’s backyard.