clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Talking Ole Miss with The Red Solo Cup

I had a chance to toss some questions at the die-hard Rebels fans over at The Red Solo Cup. My answers to their questions are here. Read on for their answers to mine.

1. First things first: that was a fantastic wins your Rebels pulled out last weekend in the Swamp. What did you learn about Ole Miss while you watched that game and what are your expectations for the season at this point?

More than anything else, we learned that there are, in fact, games that we can win against teams that are competent. We've been so close so many times only to watch that first down be converted, that field goal clear the upright, that penalty ruin our chances. We've watched Ole Miss figure out ways to lose too many games to count with an abacus.

To see the Rebels actually ball out and win a game against a team with better talent just speaks volumes about where we have come under HDN. With a game like this, you wonder whether it's a fluke or a sign of the season to come. We're obviously hoping that it's the latter. With only one game left that is absolutely unwinnable (Alabama), hopes are soaring. As far as my expectations for the season. We're just praying that we'll go 7-5.

See the rest of the interview after the jump.

2. We've got some offensive line problems here at South Carolina, and all we keep hearing about Ole Miss is how great your defensive line is. What can you tell us about these guys and to what extent do you think line play will influence this game's outcome?

If your offensive line is as bad as you say it is, you're in trouble. Our secondary is extremely underwhelming. Our linebackers are full of potential but haven't lived up to it. However, our defensive line is uncanny. We're going to get pressure on whoever we play, and the line is going to get into the backfield a lot. With future first rounder DE Greg Hardy back from a foot injury, Rebel fans finally got a chance to see what our defensive line is capable of against Florida. When Hardy would rotate into the game, Florida's RT would look down and shake his head in frustration. As fans of a perennially soft team, we're gushing to talk about our defensive line.

Also, while Hardy is the superstar, DT Peria Jerry is the anchor. He calls for double teams every play and is a leader on the line. When he's fired up, our entire defense is fired up.

3. South Carolina comes into this game with one of the nation's top-rated defenses. However, Houston Nutt has gouged us before, and we're all nervous about what he might have in store for us this coming week. How do you expect the Rebels to attack Carolina's 4-2-5?

We will definitely have trouble with your defense. We got to see Ellis Johnson's prowess for the past few seasons at Mississippi State. We can safely say that we're glad you took him away from Starkville. We don't want to have to deal with that every year.

As far as how we'll attack it, I worry that the Wild Rebel isn't going to be very effective against he 4-2-5 due to the added speed on the field. However, we may not have to use it very much. With only six players in the box out of your base set, we'll probably run freshman hotshot Brandon Bolden between the tackles. He's a power back who breaks tackles like they're nothing. Hopefully, he will be able to handle your enormous linebackers.

With regard to passing, it all comes down to Jevan's head. If his head is in the game, we'll be effective. Our receivers are excellent and are all capable of making acrobatic catches. It's all about which Jevan Snead shows up. Will it be Florida first half (5/15), second half (4/5), or Wake Forest (60/60 2,000 yards, 16 TDs)? We're all wondering how he'll handle the win.

4. On a related topic, you probably know that Tyrone Nix isn't extremely popular with the Gamecocks faithful. How would you rate the job Coach Nix is doing so far in Oxford?

It's hard to judge Nix's effectiveness this season. It's helpful that he has a defensive line full of future NFL players. He has done a lot to improve our defensive back play. Our corners are actually looking for the ball when it's in the air, and he safeties are being used to blitz, something they rarely did last season.

Our linebacker play had been somewhat disappointing until the game this weekend. We weren't disguising blitzes, and when we did blitz, we didn't add any pressure. But against Florida, our linebackers started to show blitz then drop into coverage, blitz at the last second, etc. It was the way that defense is supposed to be played.

We're somewhat worried about the yardage totals thusfar, but the results are hard to argue with.

5. South Carolina and Ole Miss have similar resumes: both are 3-2 and both have a couple of tough losses that owe somewhat to self-inflicted wounds. In fact, both lost to Vanderbilt in this fashion. I can tell you that I see this game as something of a crossroads game for the Gamecocks, a game that we really need to win to get our season on the right track. How important do you think this game is to the remainder of your season?

Well, we would say that it's the most important game of the season, but we beat Florida. Beating South Carolina would essentially guarantee us our first bowl bid since 2003 with remaining games over ULM and MSU being likely wins. Also, if we could somehow manage to win by two touchdowns or so, we would probably be ranked and make a statement to the rest of the country that we're relevant.

If we lose, we're in for trouble. The team is at a pivotal point in terms of morale, and a loss could be devastating after such a big win.