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Football News & Notes: Simplifying the offense

Petre Thomas/The Daily Mississippian

Lee makes changes

After taking Ole Miss nearly two full games before their offense saw the end zone for the first time against a FBS opponent, the Rebels hit the playbook this week, but this time to take out plays.

“I think we just cut out 30 percent of our plays and eliminated one protection totally,” first-year offensive coordinator David Lee said after Tuesday’s practice.

“We have three protections going into this game, so our guys know what to do. Hopefully our receivers know where to line up. We’re young out there and make mistakes that young kids make. We’re struggling with it and trying to make it simpler.”

While the coaching staff hopes that simplifying plays will help the players better understand where to line up and what to do, Lee is afraid the reducing of the playbook will make the offense more predictable and help defenses key in on the Rebels’ offense.

“You have to worry about getting too simple,” he said. “When you start bunching all the plays together, that’s just what the Nick Sabans of the world want you to do. They want to bunch you up and make it a 9-on-9 or 7-on-7 drill.

“You have to be careful that you don’t get to predictable and not have any creativity –– plays like a misdirection that can come inside or outside and fake off it.

“That’s what’s hard right now,” he said. “Some of those things we’d like to do, but we have to make sure we know where to line up, make sure we’re legal and not get a penalty after the play.”

Morris in line for first career start

The coaching staff said after Saturday’s loss to Vanderbilt that they would look at every position and evaluate to see if any changes need to be made.

One of the changes on offense appears to be at left guard, where freshman offensive lineman Aaron Morris has been working with the first team this week.

“I’m just working hard trying to get in there with them, just learning my plays so I can stay with them,” Morris said of working with the first-team offense.

Sophomore Patrick Junen started the first three games at left guard and remains in the mix, along with senior Alex Washington, behind Morris and junior Matt Hall at the guard positions.

“We haven’t given up on Patrick Junen by any means,” Nutt said. “We’re just trying to find the right group, the right chemistry and all those things.”

Brassell to focus on defense

After seeing majority of his playing time at receiver through the first two games, freshman Nickolas Brassell saw the majority of his snaps at cornerback Saturday, forcing a fumble and finishing with two pass breakups in the game.

Although he had a great performance Saturday in his first game at cornerback, Brassell said he still has some things to work on and improve.

“The biggest thing I needed to work on defensively for me was just being patient off the line,” he said. “Just wait for the receiver to come up and go get him.”

The coaching staff said Brassell will still play both ways, only now the majority of time will be seen on the defensive side of the ball.

“I’m still going to do both,” he said. “You’ll see me out there on offense and defense. It’s just limited plays on offense.”