More from Ole Miss Football
- Ole Miss Football: How Ole Miss can upset Alabama in top 15 matchup
- Ole Miss Football: Jaxson Dart has a career day against Georgia Tech
- Ole Miss Football: Week 3 preview and odds vs Georgia Tech
- Ole Miss football rises again in the latest AP Poll
- Ole Miss Football: Fireworks in store in week 2 matchup with Tulane
OK, let’s go ahead and admit, this isn’t the defense we were hoping to see this season. There is something which is lacking in this defensive squad. One thing we know of is the aspect of depth.
Like the offensive side of the ball, there are very talented players on this side as well. However, the lack of depth has hindered this defense. Let’s jump in and look at the grades.
This is one of the few bright spots within the Ole Miss Rebels defense at this point of the season. They have played solid behind the efforts of Breeland Speaks and DE Marquis Haynes.
However they have failed to play together on a consistent level. This was the problem Saturday as there were a number of plays where they were simply out-played by the very stout Arkansas Razorbacks offensive line.
There are some of us who have reviewed their games thus far and we’ve seen the bull rush from the Ole Miss defensive line be allowed to run themselves out. One of the easiest things for an OL is allowing the bull rush to form the pocket for the opposing QB. Watch the replay of the Arkansas game and you can see it for yourself.
In the Arkansas game Breeland Speaks and Marquis Haynes contributed for 9, yes only 9 combined tackles. However, the DL did combine for 4 sacks in the game. Based on sacks alone they get a decent grade which should be a lot better. Consistent play from the entire D line may increase their grade in coming weeks. Of course, for now they are left with this.
Defensive-line Grade, C+
This continues to be an area of concern for Ole Miss. Perennially this part of the Ole Miss defense has shown its strong play. However, lately we’ve seen the lack of line-backer play be a problem for the Ole Miss defense.
However, this game proved the linebacker play within the Landshark D. When you look at this linebacker corp you can’t help but appreciate the numbers they are putting up. DeMarquis Gates has become a tackling machine. Against the Hogs Gates once again led all Rebels in tackles. Gates had 15 total tackles with 3 TFL and a fumble recovery.
Freshman Donta Evans continues to improve from week to week and had 6 tackles in the game. You really can’t ask much more from a linebacker corp than what they are getting from Gates and the rest of the group. For their efforts this week they get a decent grade.
Linebackers Grade, B
This has been a problem spot for Ole Miss football preceding this season. We know defensive coordinator Wesley McGriff is an old school defensive back coach and we expected to see a much better secondary. This secondary is filled with great talent and many of the DBs are among the leading tacklers on the team.
Myles Hartsfield led the defensive backs with 10 total tackles with 8 solos. Zedrick Woods had 7 total tackles with 5 solos. Of course, AJ Moore was in the mix with 8 total tackles and 3 solos. The problem doesn’t lie in the run support of this group.
The problem with this secondary is in pass coverage. This defensive backfield continues to give up the big play. There continues to be a multitude of players out of position and too many cases of blown coverage. Until we see them shutdown the big play they are stuck with sub-par grades.
Defensive-backs Grade, C-
This defense has moments where they look really good. Then there are moments where you have to turn your head away because you can’t stand to watch any more. Of course, anytime you give up a 24 point lead you can expect to get a little grief from your fan base. Sure, I may have been a little tough on the defensive line and defensive backs. However, the defense did give up 449 yards of total offense.
The defense continues to bleed in the rushing game. Of 82 offensive plays the Arkansas Razorbacks ran the ball 53 times for 260 net yards. That’s a 4.9 YPC average. When you can’t stop the run and a team knows it this is what it looks like. Of course, there was the added element of ‘The Tale of Two Halves’. Of course, we’ll discuss this further within the coaching grades. For now we see the problems on the field and it appears to have no end.
Overall Defensive Grade, C-