I thought Ole Miss played well in pass defense last week against Arkansas, at least the downfield stuff. The screen pass to the athlete, Joe Adams, required open field tackling, and that's still an issue for this team.
Pass defense is one of the few statistical categories in which the Rebels have a respectable ranking, as you can see in the post below.
But it almost doesn't matter how well you defend the pass if you can't stop the run and force teams to throw. So much of what you can do defensively goes hand-in-hand with stopping the run, and that's been a problem for the Rebels for the last two years but especially this year.
The Rebels haven't been great against the run of late, but they have been more competitive. Two years ago the Rebels were sixth in the SEC, 58th in the NCAA with 140.3 yards a game allowed. Last year with largely the same cast at the interior down spots, less experience at end, the Rebels were ninth in the SEC, 61st in the NCAA at 152.8 yards a game.
This year with inconsistency at the ends and young players on the interior, run defense has been one big struggle, and the Rebels currently rank No. 115 out of 120 FBS teams with 222.86 yards a game allowed.
Any real improvement on defense has to start with slowing down the run, and Ole Miss will be in for another challenge Saturday night at Auburn. From the mother ship, Rebels and Run Defense