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Hipp's Tips: Arkansas

Alex Edwards/The Daily Mississippian


Repeat the quick start

This past week against Alabama, Ole Miss jumped out to an early 7-0 lead, thanks to a big pass play from Randall Mackey to Nick Brassell, followed by a short touchdown run from Jeff Scott. The Rebels must do the same this week against Arkansas, which has shown a propensity to come out sluggish and fall behind early in a few games. If Ole Miss wants to keep this game close, an early lead is a must.

Younger players must step up on defense

Ole Miss lost two team captains and two of its top defensive players for the rest of the season last week in cornerback Marcus Temple and defensive end Wayne Dorsey. At defensive back, freshman Senquez Golson has been told he’ll see a good many more snaps than in weeks past. Fellow freshman Nick Brassell could also see an increased role at the position as the Rebels try to find the right balance for him between wide receiver and corner. Charles Sawyer also will shift down from safety to play some at corner. Finding the right group of players in the right positions is a must against the Arkansas passing attack.

Could this be the week for the running game?

Ole Miss has been unable to establish the run game all season long, especially in Southeastern Conference play, but this could be their best chance to move the ball on the ground. 

Coming into Saturday’s game, Ole Miss ranks 108th nationally in rushing offense, averaging just over 100 yards per game, but Arkansas ranks 95th in rushing defense, giving up nearly 190 yards per game, so something has to give. Brandon Bolden is back from his one-game suspension, and Ole Miss should try to establish Bolden and Jeff Scott early. If the Rebels can run the ball, it is their best chance to move the chains and keep the explosive Arkansas offense off the field.

Must show up

Every week, head coach Houston Nutt has preached holding on to the rope and continuing to play hard, but after this past week’s beat down at the hands of Alabama, you have to wonder if the Rebels can continue to get up and play hard with how the season has gone. If Ole Miss wants to have any chance of keeping the game close and pulling off the upset, it must show up and play a full game of football. Another lackluster effort would mean a sure repeat of last week’s blowout loss.