Mississippi looking for help on defense
OXFORD, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze said there were times last week when the bigger, stronger and faster Texas Longhorns simply manhandled the smaller Rebels.
Still, the Rebels never quit.
And as long as that's the case, Freeze said there's hope.
The Rebels (2-1) travel to face Tulane (0-2) on Saturday in New Orleans for one final non-conference game before Southeastern Conference play begins.
"Physics took over and they still got five yards," Freeze said of Texas. "It's hard to battle that part of it."
The first-year Ole Miss coach is trying to win games with a roster that is admittedly short on talent. But even in the hopeless final minutes of the 66-31 loss to Texas, players were flying around the field and trying to make plays.
"We're going to see if we can improve, clean up some of our mistakes and travel down to Tulane and get a win," Freeze said.
The Rebels have already made some changes in the secondary. Junior Charles Sawyer, one of the most experienced defensive players, is moving back to cornerback after the coaches experimented with the 5-foot-11, 175-pounder at safety. True freshman Trae Elston will likely start at safety.
Elston had a good game against UTEP on Sept. 8, but was suspended for the Texas game by the SEC after it ruled he made an illegal hit against UTEP. Freeze wasn't pleased with the suspension, and said Elston's presence would have helped against the Longhorns.
"He's as talented as we have," Freeze said. "In the future, you would hope our program gets to a point where we don't have to start a bunch of true freshmen unless they really deserve it. He does deserve it in the situation we're in."
Sophomore Cliff Coleman is one of the many young players in the Ole Miss secondary. He said the Texas game footage will provide opponents with plenty of material as they try and figure how to attack the Rebels' defense.
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