Mystery date: Rebels confront defensive unknowns in opener

Lauren Wood | Buy at Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze says the Rebels will approach Boise State's defense with caution.

Lauren Wood | Buy at
Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze says the Rebels will approach Boise State’s defense with caution.

By Parrish Alford

Daily Journal

OXFORD – In the off-season, there was no guarantee the tempo offense would still be legal.

It is for the time being, and Hugh Freeze wants to snap it as fast as he can when No. 18 Ole Miss faces Boise State Thursday night in Atlanta.

Kickoff in the Georgia Dome is 7 p.m. CT.

An NCAA football rules committee tabled the discussion regarding how quickly offenses can snap the football.

“We want to get into tempo, that’s for sure,” Freeze said.

The problem is, there are proceed with caution signs all around.

What will they do?

Boise State has a first-year coach in Bryan Harsin and a new staff with him. Defensive coordinator Marcel Yates held the title of co-coordinator at Texas A&M, but the final say belonged to a more experienced coach, Mark Snyder.

The fact that Yates, a former Boise State defensive back, is calling the shots for the first time may make Freeze a little hesitant to snap it fast right off the bat.

“Usually there are some common opponents, some people you can call. In this case it really hasn’t been that way. What’s been rather difficult to pinpoint here are our first-down calls. It’s like ‘What if they do this?’ We’ll have to do something else,” Freeze said.

Some plays Freeze will run regardless of the defensive alignment.

Boise State returns a lot of experience on defense from a squad that had some issues.

The Broncos were No. 65 in total defense last year allowing 407.8 yards a game. They were No. 80 in rushing defense with 180.2 yards per game allowed.

The early minutes of the game, as with most season openers, will be about two teams feeling out one another.

“We’ll try to get check-with-mes. They may slow us down some early just to see what’s going on and get a feel for them,” Freeze said.

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