Hugh Freeze, Kirby Smart not fooled by their opponent's shortcomings
Ole Miss has its first early kickoff of the season on Saturday against No. 12 Georgia. If the Rebels had it their way, they might bump it up to 8 a.m.
“We’re excited, hungry and ready to get back on the field,” Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said on Wednesday’s SEC teleconference.
Reason being: The Rebels have blown a 22-point lead against Florida State and a 21-point lead against Alabama, slipping from No. 11 to No. 23 in the AP Top 25.
“It’s disappointing anytime you’re in a competition against some of the nation’s elite and don’t get the job done when you have a chance to,” Freeze said.
Ole Miss (1-2) had every chance in both games, but collapses in the second half of each led to the sub-.500 start.
Georgia coach Kirby Smart isn’t fooled by the one-win start. He was asked what he saw from watching the Ole Miss-Alabama film.
“I saw a lot of great players,” Smart said. “Ole Miss has got some unbelievable pass-rushers, disruptive players. On offense, they’ve got some really great wideouts.”
Chad Kelly has thrown for 318 yards per game and is the first Rebel to throw 10 touchdowns in the first three games of a season. Smart was on the receiving end of the 341 yards and 3 touchdowns he put up last season against Alabama.
“He looks the same to me. He’s out there running around, making plays, making throws. He’s athletic, hard to bring down. He’s got a hose for an arm.”
Kelly’s Heisman hopes took a hit with the two early losses, and he has vowed to address his three picks. He had two key turnovers that led to touchdowns against Alabama.
The numbers that are killing Ole Miss come from the second halves of the two losses. Ole Miss has been outscored 40-10 in the third quarters.
“We’re a good football team and I think our kids believe that,” Freeze said. “We’ve yet to play a complete game, which is disappointing, but I think we’ll handle it the right way.”
It will come down to limiting the strengths of the other team, Kelly being that for Ole Miss and Nick Chubb and the run game for Georgia.
Chubb had 222 yards to start the season against North Carolina but was held to 143 yards on 39 carries against Nicholls State and Missouri.
Much like Ole Miss at 1-2 isn’t fooling smart, Freeze isn’t looking much into that stat.
“Running the football has become very difficult because of the way people play the run and add extra hats to it. The way we respect Georgia’s run is enormous. We‘ve seen the explosive runs that they can create with the backs that they have.”