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Keys to the Game: Ole Miss Rebels Go to Florida Gators’ Swamp

Photo by Josh Bonner, Libertine Images
Photo by Joshua Bonner, Libertine Images

Well, Rebels, this weekend we are heading to the Swamp and don’t rest easy because it’s going to be another nail-biter as our undefeated No.3 Ole Miss Rebels take on the undefeated No.25 Florida Gators on their turf. It’s anyone’s game.

For the Rebels, the major thing they are going to face this weekend is themselves. They need to tighten their belt and not repeat last weekend’s hanging hangover that can get them chomped in the Swamp.

For the Gators, they are fighting for a lot more than a win. They’re fighting to regain notoriety to their football program and restore pride within the team.

What will it take this week for the Rebels to make it out of the Swamp? Here are my Keys to the Game for this weekend.

There is something about playing under the lights that makes the football game a force to be reckoned with.

Swift in the Swamp: The Rebels seem to do best whenever they run an uptempo offense. If Chad Kelly and his crew can keep an upbeat tempo early on as they command their play scheme then Rebels have a better chance to get ahead early. On the defensive side of the ball, the Landsharks need to demonstrate early on that they will not give the Gators a chance to make it far down the line. They are going to have to do what they do best: get the Gator offense off-tempo so they won’t be able to recover its offense easily in time to put points on the board.

Winning away from Home: Rebels managed to do this against Alabama and they looked good during that away game. This away game will be the Rebels’ first real test further away from Oxford to prove if they can handle the pressure in the Swamp. There may be a greater sea of blue and orange than there is a sea of navy and red. The Gators are hungry and the Rebels will be the first high-caliber opponent this season. They’re looking for an upset. The Rebels will have to strike first and hard in the Swamp.

Consistent Play Calling: I am not sure what was going on last week other than that everyone was having an off day. Coach Freeze will have to make sure he doesn’t fall asleep with his boys so he needs to be aggressive in his play-calling. I understand that points are points but settling for a field goal multiple times isn’t always the best way to show the Rebels can play hard. I also hope to seem an uptempo look from the Rebels and perhaps taking a chance with different strategies to mix things up. I truly believe when coaches throw in something exciting every once and a while, that excites their players too.

Staying Awake: The Rebels cannot afford to look like they did last weekend against Vandy. Yes, a win’s a win but if they look like that anymore this season then they won’t be winning any more games. The Rebels have done a decent job thus far in balancing rotation and rest. They will have to be on top of that this game if they don’t want Florida to unmask them early on.

See y’all in the Swamp Rebel Nation.

Lee Ann Herring-jpgs-0601

Lee Ann Herring-Olvedo is a HottyToddy.com contributor, veteran SEC sports journalist and Brown University graduate. She loves good cigars, good games and a smooth glass of bourbon — not necessarily in that order. She can be reached at misskentuckyus2011@gmail.com.

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