Ole Miss Beat Writer Parrish Alford Previews Alabama vs. Ole Miss [Audio]
One of the most pivotal games on the 2016 SEC football calendar takes place Saturday in Oxford, Mississippi.
The Ole Miss Rebels hosts the Alabama Crimson Tide from newly expanded Vaught-Hemingway Stadium at 2:30 PM on CBS.
The Rebels look to take three straight games from the Crimson Tide for the first time in the Nick Saban era of Alabama football.
Ole Miss beat writer for The Daily Journal in Tupelo, Mississippi, Parrish Alford hopped on The Gary Harris Show to break down this week’s matchup in Oxford.
A key factor in the recent success for the Rebels in the series has been creating turnovers. The Crimson Tide turned the ball over five times in last year’s 43-37 loss in Tuscaloosa and an additional three times in the 23-17 loss in Oxford.
Through the first two games of the 2016 season, the Ole Miss defense has forced just one turnover. Alford believes that the Rebels have to do a better job of creating turnovers in order to beat Alabama.
“They need to create some more of those turnovers, and they haven’t done that a lot this season.” Alford said.
A primary issue for Ole Miss this season has been defending the pass. Florida State recorded 419 yards through the air in their 45-34 win over the Rebels in Orlando. The Ole Miss beat writer sees pass defense as an area that Ole Miss needs to see improvement.
“The key for Ole Miss is going to be can they get better in the secondary, and they’re just unsettled there right now.” Alford said.
Concerning Alabama, Alford analyzed the youth and stability at quarterback and reminded listeners that Florida State’s inexperience at quarterback did not hurt them in the season opener.
“Young was not something that hurt Florida State against Ole Miss.” Alford said.
While Alabama has the possibility of starting a true freshman this week, Ole Miss will start a senior signal caller in Chad Kelly. Kelly lit up the Crimson Tide defense to the tune of 341 yards and four total touchdowns in last year’s game.
For this year’s game, Alford sees protecting the football as a high priority for Kelly and the Ole Miss coaching staff.
“The thing they stress with Chad (Kelly) right now is ball protection, and he’s smart enough to know that that means real yourself in a little bit. I think you’re going to see him make more careful decisions against Alabama.” Alford said.
Catch the Gary Harris Show every weekday from 9-11 AM on Tide 102.9 and the radioPup app.