New sub pattern likely for defensive reserves against Vanderbilt

Defensive fatigue at the end of the Alabama game has been a big talking point for Ole Miss this week.

It may change the substitution patterns this week.

Hugh Freeze on Monday took responsibility for that fatigue saying defensive starters didn’t get enough snaps in the first two games, big wins over Tennessee-Martin and Fresno State.

Defensive coordinator Dave Wommack shared that responsibility after Wednesday’s practice saying in spite of the low number of plays for Ole Miss starters over the first two weeks he still wished he’d have played reserves a little more against Alabama.

“We should have played more people more reps when I go back and look at it. You get in that big … there are some younger guys that we really do believe in, but you get a little concerned about putting them in that situation with that crowd and everything. When I look back on it I don’t think we played enough people in the game. We tired out, especially the defensive line. I think it was a coaching error on my part not playing any more people than we did, and it showed up on the defensive line.”

There will be substitution at Huskie against Vanderbilt for sure. There’s no choice as Tony Conner begins what will likely be a lengthy stretch out of action after surgery this week on a torn meniscus.

It appears the rotation at Huskie will start with sophomore A.J. Moore and extend to freshman Zedrick Woods and senior Chief Brown.

It wouldn’t be shocking to see Mike Hilton drop down from Rover and play there some, but that’s not the first plan for Wommack. If some combination of the other three gets off to a good start Hilton will probably stay deep.

As far as other subs go I’d expect to see more of sophomore safety C.J. Hampton this week. Hampton was suspended for the first two games, absences that added to the reluctance to use him against Alabama.

“You just worry about sticking them in those situations, but we have to,” said Wommack of his reserves. “They’ve done good. I’m proud of these guys. They want to compete, and they want to be good. I think the whole team has that kind of philosophy if you will.”

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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  • UMBBFan

    So is the answer that we play the first team ore to get them in shape or do we trust the backups to play even in a tough situation? I suspect we will see the backups play more. That is until it is really tough again and we will ride the ones until the final horn blows.

    • Killer_Beeze

      Whenever possible, I think the ‘best strategy’ would be to play the 2s and 3s and even 4s as much as possible because down the stretch if injuries start to pile up, then you’re going to need players with game experience to carry you into the playoffs. Of course, the coaches know all this.

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