Texas's Defense is in Disarray. What Does That Mean for Ole Miss?

Brendan Maloney-US PRESSWIRE

It's bad in Austin.

Things are not going so well for the defense at Texas. BYU ran for 550 yards last Saturday, a feat that became the anvil that broke the camel's back for Manny Diaz's career in Austin. Mack Brown fired him the next day, replacing him with Greg Robinson. Robinson was Brown's DC in 2004, which also happens to be the last year Robinson coached a good defense.

But hey, Brown actually hired Robinson as a consultant in the offseason, and Robinson has been watching film of the team regularly. He can slip right in just fine, right?

Oh.

That must mean good things for Ole Miss, right? The Rebels will be rolling in this weekend featuring a decent runner at quarterback in Bo Wallace and a home run hitter in Jeff Scott. Barry Brunetti can do some damage with his legs too. Things are looking up for this weekend, no?

Sort of.

Texas's run defense was awful last year too. The Solid Verbal guys dubbed it the cure for the common run game. Ole Miss ran the ball pretty well against it last year. Its five yards per rush rate was the highest it had in a non-cupcake game. Both the Rebels' yards per play and yards per rush rates were the fourth-highest that Texas allowed this year, behind only Big 12 pinball offenses Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, and Baylor.

There were two big problems for the Rebels in that game. One was the fact that Wallace had an awful game through the air. It was his worst performance of the season, other than perhaps what he did against Alabama (which is Alabama). He threw three picks and barely completed more than half of his passes. A repeat performance of that is not going to cut it, and the Longhorns' pass defense is not bad. It's still not Bama, but it's miles ahead of its rush defense.

The second is that the Rebel defense was even worse than Texas's defense. Not all 66 points were its fault—an interception return and a kickoff return account for two of the touchdowns—but it's always bad news when you allow 13.5 yards per pass and 6.5 yards per rush for a total of 676 yards.

The good news for Ole Miss is that Texas QB David Ash is questionable for the game. There is a gaping black hole behind him, so if he's out, Texas's offense will be greatly diminished. It's a game time decision, though, so we won't know ahead of time.

In any event, just because Texas's run defense is bad doesn't mean this game is a sure thing for the Rebels. They've improved a lot from where they were early last season, so that should be the thing to pin hopes to rather than the fact that Diaz got a pink slip this week.

Ole Miss lost to a Texas team with an awful run defense last year too. Don't pencil in a Rebel win in this one just because of the coaching staff upheaval.

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