Cutcliffe: Rebels woes against Bama obvious
By By Joey Vaughn / special to The Star
Oct. 22, 2002
OXFORD It was apparent to everybody in Bryant-Denney Stadium Saturday, and film review sessions only revealed further to Ole Miss coach David Cutcliffe what his team's problem was in its 42-7 loss to Alabama.
Being physical has been Ole Miss biggest problem, especially up front on defense, for years. The Crimson Tide exploited its superiority on the line, running for 234 yards against the Rebels. The task doesn't get any easier this week for Ole Miss, which travels to face Arkansas Saturday, the SECs leading rushing team.
The Hogs are averaging 276 rushing yards per game, good for third in the nation. Arkansas also leads the SEC in total offense with 441 yards per game.
If the Rebels are to avoid getting run over by Arkansas, they'll have to correct the problems that Cutcliffe said stood out to him against the Tide.
It wasn't only the Ole Miss defense that got pushed around against the Tide, either. The Rebs rushed for only four yards themselves. After Eli Manning completed all seven of his passes in the first quarter, Bama shut down the Rebel run game and was able to concentrate on stopping Manning.
Road bounce back?
Ole Miss hasn't lost two games in a row since losses to Georgia and Mississippi State last November. Cutcliffe thinks his team has the mentality to put the Alabama loss behind it, but if the Rebs are to avoid two straight losses, they'll have to win a road game, something they haven't done since beating LSU 35-24 in Baton Rouge last season. Ole Miss has lost 42-28 at Texas Tech and 42-7 at Alabama this year.
Senior running back Robert Williams didn't practice Monday after suffering a shoulder injury against Alabama. Initial fears were that Williams left shoulder was separated, but tests showed that it was a strained AC joint instead. Williams availability for the Arkansas game is still in question.
Senior wideout Jason Armstead hurt his forearm during the Bama game, but returned to action, and will be ready to go Saturday.
TV, or not TV?
Kickoff for Ole Miss game at Arkansas Saturday will be at 1 p.m. The game will not be televised. The Nov. 2 home game against Auburn, it was announced Monday, will be televised by Jefferson Pilot with an 11:30 a.m. kickoff.