Vols Defense Should Be Prepared For Ole Miss Up-Tempo Attack
(utsports.com) KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee was back flying around on Haslam Field on Tuesday morning as excitement continues to build for Saturday night’s highly-anticipated showdown with Ole Miss at Neyland Stadium.
On Monday evening, UT announced that it would “Checker Neyland” for Saturday’s game against the Rebels, marking the first time since playing Georgia back in 2017.
In terms of game preparation, the Big Orange know they will need to execute at a high level on both sides of the ball against a fast-paced and talented Ole Miss team that enters the game ranked first in the SEC and fourth nationally in scoring offense (46.2 ppg).
When speaking with the media on Tuesday, linebackers’ coach Brian Jean-Mary noted that practicing against Tennessee’s up-tempo offense in the offseason would be advantageous for the Vols’ defense this week, but also pointed out that there are a lot of differences within the Rebels’ offense that they will need to be ready for, as well.
“There is a lot of carryover obviously from going against our offense in the spring and fall camp. We feel like we should be prepared for the tempo, but it’s always a different animal when you have to go against it in a game,” Jean-Mary said. “There are a lot of similarities, but there are some major differences also just in the way that they run the ball and some of the pass game.
“The tempo is similar, but they have their kind of go-to plays and we have our own on offense, so we have to do a good job of separating what we’ve done against our offense compared to what Ole Miss (does), how they attack people.”
Offensively, the playmaking ability of Tennessee’s more experienced receivers has played a major part in the team’s high-scoring efforts the past two weeks.
Wide receivers coach Kodi Burns was quick to praise the play of veteran wideouts like Velus Jones Jr., JaVonta Payton and Cedric Tillman, but also stressed that it’ll be important for UT’s younger receivers to continue to develop and be ready when their opportunities come.
“You talk about getting into SEC play, one thing that I do know about the SEC, it’s a big boy league and you really want to go with experience, and we’ve done that the last few weeks. I think it’s paid off,” Burns said. “At the same time, those young guys get a chance to still play a little bit and truly grow, and they’re going to be good players. You just have to make sure to seize the opportunity when your time is called.”
The Vols’ contest with the Rebels kicks off at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday and will be broadcast on the SEC Network. Fans are encouraged to arrive early in order to be in their seats for the pregame lights show and kickoff.