Rebels, Vandals and the intensity question

Ole Miss’ injury situation is serious enough right now that respect for opponent should be taken to another level.

That respect should be a given in major college football, but it’s a challenge for coaches to keep the intensity for their players and sometimes themselves.

LSU coach Les Miles alluded to a drop-off in that intensity when he said he didn’t have his team as prepared as it needed to be to face Ole Miss. Miles told media in his postgame presser, “There’s a way I could prepare this team to put them in better position emotionally and prepare them to play in the kind of stadium they played in tonight.”

I don’t know if it was LSU’s lack of the necessary intensity as much as it was Ole Miss’ much more heightened sense of it. I’ve not seen Chief Brown close on a ball and make the athletic interception that he did before last Saturday night.

Hugh Freeze will face the intensity challenge this week against Idaho. Here’s a little bit about the Vandals.

Idaho’s lone win on a 1-6 resume is a 26-24 victory against Temple, whose 1-6 resume includes a 33-14 win over Army and a 30-29 loss to Fordham.

Aside from Temple, Idaho has not held an opponent to fewer than 40 points. That was in a 40-6 season-opening loss to North Texas.

Idaho is ranked No. 114 in scoring offense, No. 121 in scoring defense out of the 123 FBS teams.

The Vandals are coached by Paul Petrino. Bobby’s brother is in his first season.

This is the lead from Petrino’s bio on the school’s website: “Paul Petrino, whose prolific offenses consistently are among the nation’s best, was introduced on Dec. 3, 2012 as the 33rd head football coach of the University of Idaho Vandals – and he’s happy to be here.”

Idaho, an FBS independent, was off last week. The Vandals lost 48-24 at Arkansas State two weeks ago.

The Rebels need this game to play out like the Southeast Missouri game did in Week 2. Ole Miss needs to build a lead and let players rest.

If the Rebels bring their intensity at the beginning they should be able to do that.


Denham Springs, La., native, Mississippian since 1989 with a stop in Meridian before arriving in Tupelo. Daily Journal beat writer since 1996, covering Ole Miss since 2002. Proud Northeast Louisiana alum. Follow me on Twitter @parrishalford and listen to John Davis and myself daily with The Ole Miss Beat on Rebel Sports Radio.

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