This weekend it gets personal.
Last season Ole Miss handed Alabama a 23-17 loss in Oxford that snapped a 10 game series win. After the game Alabama players and fans alike witnessed Rebel fans rush their field in celebration.
“I hate losing more than I love winning,” cornerback Cyrus Jones said. “I think that’s just the mindset around here. It’s definitely not something you want to experience.”
Jones said he doesn’t expect to shadow Ole Miss receiver Laquon Treadwell, but he will likely have to cover him at some point.
“You can’t let him bully you because that’s what he’s going to try to come in and do,” Jones said. “You have to be physical back with him. That’s what we plan on doing.”
Linebacker Reggie Ragland said Treadwell could go off at any moment. It’s important that the defense can keep him contained when he gets the ball, but Treadwell is not the only big play threat Alabama is worried about.
“Oh man, he’s [Evan Engram] kind of like a wide receiver in tight end’s body so it’s going to be real tough,” Ragland said. “I’ve got to stay low on him, and look at his hips like I’m playing basketball.”
Jones said Engram reminds him of O.J. Howard. He said Engram’s ability to line up out wide like a receiver makes Ole Miss’s offense dangerous since they do not have to sub.
Alabama has to prepare for a few offensive playmakers that weren’t there last season. Ole Miss defensive end, Robert Nkemdiche, played in last season’s contest on the other side of the ball, but this year he might end up taking some snaps on offense.
“Actually I joke to him [offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin] about me going [over to offense] a lot of times, but he said ‘Nah let’s stick to defense,’” Ragland said. “I’m kind of mad Cyrus gets to go over there sometimes though. I’m jealous of that.”
Another new face on the Rebels’ offense is quarterback Chad Kelly. Kelly originally went to Clemson, and just transferred in from East Mississippi junior college. Ragland met him a few times back when they were both high school recruits.
“I tried to get him to come here, but he at Ole Miss now so I got to line up against him and play my game,” Ragland said. It’s going to be a fun matchup.”
Ragland said he is glad Kelly is having success at Ole Miss, but if Ragland does his job this weekend Kelly might not have any success in Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday. This is not the first time the two have faced each other.
“I remember playing against him in the Under Armor Game, and he got me,” Ragland said. “He shook me a little bit, I ain’t going lie about that, so I got to come back and get him or try to at least.”
Ragland’s said his team won that game pretty handedly. It’s safe to say he hopes this game plays out in similar fashion.
“As a competitor I hate losing,” he said. “So I’m going to try to come out with my best and hopefully play even harder this time to try and get the W.”
Source:: The Crimson White Sports