OLE MISS NOTEBOOK: No secret, Rebels need ‘spy’

OleMissLogoBy Parrish Alford

Daily Journal

OXFORD – Mike Hilton isn’t so sure he wants to change his number from 28 to 007 just yet.

Hilton, then a freshman in his first start, was the “spy” whose assigned task was to follow Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel last year.

Manziel passed for 191 yards and threw two interceptions, but also rushed for 129 yards. His 29-yard touchdown run with 6 minutes, 24 seconds to play made it a 27-23 game. He passed 20 yards to Ryan Swope with 1:46 left to lift the Aggies to a 30-27 win.

“I think we’re going to have somebody spy on Manziel this game. Mike Hilton did a great job with that last year. Hopefully we’re going to put (Hilton) back on him this year,” Ole Miss linebacker Serderius Bryant said.

Hilton was playing the Huskie position then. Chasing Manziel would be more difficult from cornerback, where Hilton is settling in with four starts under his belt.

“I think we’ll have a different scheme this year,” he said. “We’ve got a whole year under our belts watching him. I think we’ll have more defensive packages set for him.”

More efficient D

With Hilton and Senquez Golson having settled in at the cornerbacks, Ole Miss has risen in pass defense statistics from a difficult start in which Vanderbilt passed for 300 yards, 178 to wide receiver Jordan Matthews, who had 10 catches and a touchdown.

The Rebels are currently second in the SEC in pass defense efficiency with a 124.4 rating, third in passing yards per game at 191.0.

Injury update

DT Carlton Martin could be back this week. DE Carlos Thompson (undisclosed) was injured early against Auburn and “probably won’t be available this week,” Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said. Center Evan Swindall (toe), WR Donte Moncrief (shoulder) and RB Jeff Scott (thigh bruise) are expected to play.

Freeze said it’s possible that DE C.J. Johnson returns this week. Johnson (ankle) is expected to be taken out of the boot and reevaluated today.


Defensive coordinator Dave Wommack introduced a package at Auburn that allows him to get outside linebackers Serderius Bryant and Denzel Nkemdiche on the field at the same time.

The Rebels’ base package calls for only two linebackers. The 3-3-5 he showed against Auburn went with one more down lineman and one more linebacker.

Nkemdiche had nine tackles against Auburn, Bryant eight.

“That package went pretty good,” said Bryant, who leads the team with 43 tackles. “They told us we’ll put something else in this week that we’ll run. They want to get me and Denzel on the field at the same time.”


Click video to hear audio

  • Kevin

    What the Rebels need is some talent and some coaches who know what plays to call on first, second, and third downs so they won’t have to go for it on fourth down all of the time. This is total b.s. Does Freeze call the game like he’s playing EA Sports NCAA Football 14?? This isn’t a video game!

    • Guy Odom

      Kevin, I do not think you are a Ole Miss fan…..All I can say is just wait and see over the next few years….Freeze doesn’t have all of his personnel in place on the field just yet. One CLASS is not the answer….It is just the first step! Coach Freeze is in his Second season in the SEC….He is not a superhero….I will follow him anywhere, anytime, anycost! When it does get turned around I do not want to see you jump on a bandwagon any time soon…..Please tell me you are a State fan??????

      • Kevin

        Guy, with all respect, you must be very young or have little or no memory of Rebel campaigns gone sour from past years. I remember people saying, “Hey man, you’re not a real Rebel fan, blah, blah…and just wait until [Kinard, Cooper, Sloan, Brewer, Tuberville, Cutcliffe, Orgeron, Nutt] has his personnel in place and we’re going to run the tables.” Well, dude, I’m old and I’ve been waiting and hoping for a Rebel team that can kick butt on the field and do so consistently and I keep waiting and waiting.

        I am not a State College fan. You must have a very myopic view of things if you really believe that one cannot be a fan of a team and also be critical at the same time. I’m an Ole Miss graduate and legacy, and I’m about fed up with sucking.

  • danny


    • Kevin

      The heck I wasn’t! Every year it’s the same thing. We either win 4 or we might luck out and win 6. If we have a Manning at QB, then maybe we can win 10 after losing to Memphis. This isn’t 2012, for your information. This is 2013 and I knew this team would suck. Do you know how I knew in the summer that this would be a bummer year? Well first of all I looked at the schedule and I figured 4 or 5 wins at the most. Then secondly, I went to an alumni dinner where Coach Hugh Freeze told us all that we’d suck. That’s how I knew we’d be 11th or 12th in the SEC. Right now, we’re competing with State, Kentucky, Arkansas, and Vandy for that last spot, as usual.

  • Kelly Bustard
  • Kelly Bustard

    KEVIN: I’ll wager you have never ever coached at the college level… From 2011 to 2012 in Freeze’s first years the scoring offense went from 112tth to 44th in the nation. Right now the Rebels are 85th after being shut out by ‘Bama and held to 22 points by Auburn. No shame in either of those scores. Freeze is the right coach at the right time – he will lead Ole Miss back to glory – just leave him alone and give the man time to build a program…. Geeze.. he has only coach 18 games and has a 10-8 record; not too shabby considering what he had to start with. So stand down, cease and desist, button your lip unless you can say something positive. I expect and insult in response – so go ahead give it your best shot. I enforced court orders for child support 27 years. If I can stand nose to with a dude 6-5, 285 lbs who had spent half his life in prison.. I can take what you dish out. Be positive about our Rebels or take a hike…

    • Kevin

      For me to be positive about Ole Miss football, then I’ll have to demand that the team gives me something to be positive about. Right now, I see a team destined for a 4-win season, and this is what Freeze told us at an alumni gathering this past summer before a down was played. And, you too have a faulty memory. People said “just leave him alone and give the man time to build a program” about Cooper, Sloan, Brewer, Tuberville, Cutcliffe, Orgeron, Nutt and now you’re saying it about Freeze.

      You have to admit, however, that Freeze’s go-for-it-on-fourth-down is nutts, right? Good teams don’t have to go for it on fourth down. That’s just bad coaching and it reveals that Freeze is desperate out there because he knows the team has almost zero talent.