Here’s what UTEP coach Mike Price had to say about Ole Miss at his press conference earlier this week:
“They beat Central Arkansas, which is the winningest college football program in the state of Arkansas. They go to the playoffs quite often. They have a lot of transfers, and they’re good. They played even the first half with Ole Miss. In the second half Ole Miss got to them, outplayed them and blew them out. They have a real good quarterback who was player of the year last year at East Mississippi Junior College. He’s a big guy who ran for two touchdowns [last week]. They only threw three incomplete passes. Last year’s starting QB, Randall Mackey, is the starting tailback so he can run a little wildcat and throw halfback passes.
“They’re no-huddle, they’re upbeat and up-tempo. They’re faster up-tempo than Oklahoma, so we’re going to have to work on that. They repeat good plays. If it’s a good play, they will come back and run it again as quickly as they possibly can. They run around with great enthusiasm on defense. They have outstanding athletes. Their D-line isn’t huge, but they’re tough and aggressive. Their ends are very good pass rushers. Their secondary made some picks and big plays in the game. They’re really excited about their program and their new coach. They had a full house last Saturday night and will have another full house this Saturday night in Oxford. It will be a great experience for our players to experience the culture and the big time football. They did poorly the last two years and the new coach came in and has gotten everybody jacked up and excited about Rebel football.”
Price works hard there at establishing street cred for Central Arkansas. UCA is a good team and will be competitive at its level. As far as the Vaught-Hemingway crowd, it wasn’t exactly a full house, but there was an excitement among those who were for what they witnessed in the second half.
I’ll go along with “jacked up and excited about Rebel football.” I think people are excited, but I think the optimism is cautious too.