Staying Cautious

Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze talked last week about the difficulty of preparing for an opening-week opponent with two new coordinators and little track record to study.

Not a lot has changed in Week 2.

Although Vanderbilt has played a game, it was an embarrassing debut for new coach Derek Mason, and as a result there’s no starting quarterback named. The Ole Miss defense will have to prepare for all three.

Also, there’s a new 3-4 defensive scheme for Vanderbilt, and the 3-4 is somewhat rare in college football. Offensive lines don’t see it a lot. It will take a great week of preparation by Freeze and his staff to get production from the Rebels’ OL which struggled in the run game against Boise State. Freeze on Monday didn’t call out the OL per se, but he called for more physicality in the run game.

That goes for backs too, and we may see more opportunities for redshirt freshman RB Jordan Wilkins in the days ahead.

Perhaps the biggest thing that made Vanderbilt’s season opener unique was the fact that the Commodores turned the ball over seven times. That certainly aided Temple in its 37-7 win. Teams just don’t turn it over seven times often, especially teams that just did it a week before and will be on guard with ball protection.

The message here is don’t sleep on Vanderbilt, and Freeze says his team won’t overlook the Commodores.

From the Mother Ship, the Monday presser and the notebook.

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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