Taking chances deep is all about what opposing defenses are giving, Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze says.
Numerous folks have asked me why the Rebels haven’t thrown downfield more given the talent at receiver. There were more shots taken at Auburn because the Tigers were playing man coverage against Donte Moncrief.
“I think our guys can win against man coverage if we can get protection. We felt like they were giving us that (coverage). The last two weeks people have decided to play us man, and I think we have guys that can win.
“It all depends on what teams are giving us,” Freeze continued. “The first few weeks everything was two (players) high over him, and you weren’t going to get anything like that. Most people don’t understand that. They just think, ‘Throw it deep to Donte.’ That was fine the other night. The first few weeks Vandy and Texas played two high over him on almost every snap. If they give us a look where we have a chance, we’re certainly going to try it.”
Moncrief averaged 20.3 yards a catch with six catches for 122 yards and two touchdowns, one of the coming on a 49-yard play.
The Rebels are averaging 238.4 yards a game, eighth in the SEC. That’s not surprising because of Freeze’s quest for balance in the offense.
However, Ole Miss is getting just 6.5 yards per pass attempt, 13th in the league. Only Tennessee, at 5.8 yards, is getting less per pass play.
Drops have been a factor the last two weeks, Moncrief included in that group.
Over the last two games, however, Moncrief has 12 catches and looks like he’s about to pass freshman Laquon Treadwell for the team lead in receptions. Moncrief currently has 23 catches for 355 yards and four of the six touchdowns thrown by Bo Wallace. The other two have gone to freshman tight end Evan Engram.
Since debuting with nine catches against Vanderbilt, Treadwell has had 15 catches over the last four games. He remains a focal point of the offense both running (two carries for 8 yards) and passing (0-for-3 INT).
Freeze expects big things from Treadwell, the nation’s No. 1 WR prospect last year.
“I’m very pleased with Laquon, let me say that. When you you’re a true freshman, and you’re going through the season we’ve been handed, on the road, late nights, no early games, all the school work and study halls … it can be a bit draining. I feel it. The freshmen have never gone through it, and sometimes they can be a bit overwhelmed by the grind. Some of them are experiencing some of that. Hopefully getting them back home and getting into a more normal routine we will see him pick up his performance a little bit, but he’s going to be a very very good player.”