October 30, 2012

Dawgs wary of up-tempo Rebs

When Ole Miss (5-3; 2-2 in the SEC) rolls into Athens on Saturday to face Georgia, they'll be doing so looking to extend a conference winning streak for the first time since 2009 they faced archrival Mississippi State after defeating LSU and Tennessee in the previous two weeks.

The Rebels lost that game to the Mississippi State Bulldogs, but according to UGA defensive end Garrison Smith, Hugh Freeze's group definitely has the Georgia's attention.

"It's going to be a really big challenge. Their coach is a really good coach and he puts his guys in position to make plays in that scheme," said Smith. "It is going to be a challenge trying to keep guys fresh. They have great players, too, so that's going to be another big challenge for us."

Senior linebacker Christian Robinson, who says that he played close to 30 snaps against Florida last week, was quick to agree with Smith concerning Ole Miss's no-huddle attack.

"That's what they are good at. I think they are going to continue to do what they have done," said Robinson. "They did that against the No. 1 team in the nation and had one of their better games as a team."

Smith has seen an increase in snaps the last few weeks due to a couple of factors.

Abry Jones has missed time and will likely miss the rest of the year with an ankle injury, but Smith had already earned more snaps because of improved play.

That increased playing time is something he believes will help him when he faces the Rebels' up-tempo offense on Saturday.

"Getting more snaps and not coming out of the game much definitely has prepared me to play a larger amount of reps," he said. "It definitely helps."

After last weeks huge win over Florida, formerly the second-ranked team in the country, Smith believes that there is plenty of room for improvement.

"I feel like I played decent. There is always room for improvement. I feel like I can play a lot better," he said. "I still feel like I haven't had my best game or reached my full potential yet. I still feel like I have much more room for improvement."

Robinson, who still has the Florida victory fresh on his mind, says that when you compare the two teams, Ole Miss might be a bit more challenging due to their balance on offense.

"I agree with that (that Ole Miss is a more balanced offense). I think when we were looking at Florida, they were obviously run heavy. They didn't have a lot of touchdown passes and things like that," he said. "This is another opponent that wants to run the ball, and they want to maximize big plays. They can do it with run or pass."

After Ole Miss played Alabama earlier in the season, Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban made comments to the media about how the no huddle offense was unfair to defenses and possibly caused safety issues on the field.

While Robinson agrees that the hurry-up offense creates problems for the defense, he believes that it is anything but unfair.

"It's smart," said Robinson. "It's just football. If we don't want it to hurt us, we just have to stop it. That is our job on defense. We just have to stop them. That will make it easier for us if we get them off the field. You just have to stop them when you can and it will eliminate any errors. It's not a safety issue. It's football."

One thing that could cause problems for the Bulldogs is their tendency to line up late against teams that don't hurry to the line of scrimmage.

If the Bulldogs struggle to get lined up against teams that aren't no-huddle, would a more fast paced attack create big problems?

According to Robinson, that type offense should make it easier.

"When we face a hurry up offense, it is easier to get lined up quicker because the coaches aren't trying to get us matched up with what they have out there," he said. "They keep the same guys out there and that lets the coaches know that we stay out there and they make our call from the personnel out there. It makes it much quicker. When a team is running guys in and out, we are trying to get the right guys in there to match up, and that takes more time."

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