The Texas Longhorns take on the Ole Miss Rebels in Oxford, Mississippi on Saturday night in front of a nationally televised audience on ESPN.Â Ole Miss has a new head coach, a new quarterback and has already won as many games this year as they did all of last season.Â The Longhorns roll into The Grove with an identical 2-0 record and high expectations on the season.Â Horn Sports had a chance to ask Chuck Rounsaville of The Ole Miss Spirit a few questions about the Rebels, Oxford and what Longhorn fans can expect to see this weekend.
The Rebels lost 10 games last season but have started the 2012Â campaign with 2 wins, impressive offensive statistics and a new attitude. How has first year head coach Hugh Freeze’s presence impacted the team?
OMS:Â Freeze had to start from scratch and get academics, behavior and attitude going back in the right direction. He has gotten most of that done, which has created a more unified team and a better work ethic.
Ole Miss starting quarterback and JUCO transfer Bo Wallace is off to a blazing start for the Rebels.Â His 76.1 completion rate (5 touchdowns / 1 interception) are good enough to rank him in the top 10 nationally in quarterback rating.Â What should Texas fans know about Wallace’s on-field skills and what will he need to do on Saturday to pull off a win in Oxford?
OMS:Â Bo enjoys the games. He plays better in front of a crowd than he does in practice. He is a tough kid who does not mind tucking the ball and running when lanes open up and he’s pretty effective at doing it. So far, he has
protected the ball – one interception, no fumbles – and he has made decisions that fit in the framework of the Rebel offense.
Defensive Back Trae Elston was suspended for the Texas game by the SEC earlier this week for a questionable hit delivered on a UTEP receiver last weekend.Â How big of a loss is Elston for the Rebel defense?
OMS:Â Trae was getting about half the reps at rover and was starting to make an impact on the Ole Miss defense, which needs help in the secondary. Elston not being able to play is considered by the coaching staff to be “major.”
Let’s talk ground attack.Â Texas has a trio of quality rushers but Ole Miss ranks 9th in the country in rushing, averaging 283.5 yards per game.Â Which Ole Miss running backs should Texas fans keep an eye on?
OMS:Â The running back slots have been filled by committee. Converted QB Randall Mackey and true freshman I’Tavius Mathers are more traditional type tailbacks in the 200-pound range with good speed. Jeff Scott and true freshman Jaylen Walton are smaller backs that make people miss and have exceptional speed and quickness. They are the threats to take it all the way.
For fans that have never watched a college football game at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford, what can they expect?
OMS:Â If Ole Miss is playing well, Rebel fans are as fanatical as they are anywhere. We have a smaller stadium than most SEC schools, but it will be full and it will be loud.
Any must-visit food/drink establishments in Oxford to complete the experience for out-of-town Longhorn fans?
OMS:Â The Square is the place to be for food and entertainment.
The Horns and Rebels have not met on the field since 1966 when Texas defeated Ole Miss 19-0 in the Bluebonnet Bowl in Houston.Â Texas is 5-1 all time versus Ole Miss but the Rebels are hungry and look to prove last year’s 2-10 record was an anomaly for the program.Â Follow Ole Miss football at www.omspirit.com.