By Adam Brown
The Ole Miss Rebels football team is swapping its air raid offense for a newly-developed running attack, and unlike previous years, it’s working.
Over the first three games of the season, the Rebels’ stable of running backs has gained 537 total yards. The stable is anchored by Scottie Phillips who has had 25 to 30 touches per game so far on the season.
“He is in good enough shape to carry the ball 20 or 30 times a contest,” offensive coordinator Rich Rodriguez said.
Phillips has a total of 71 touches with 308 total yards and four touchdowns. He has averaged 4.3 yards per carry. As a group, the backs have gained an average of 3.9 yards per touch and found pay dirt five times.
Freshman Jerrion Ealy has the only other touchdown for the running backs that came against Southeastern Louisiana last Saturday. Ealy broke two monster gashes for 52 yards from scrimmage, then followed it up with a 30-yard dash to the end zone. He is averaging 6.1 yards per carry with 17 touches on the year.
A challenge for the Rebels’ coaching staff will be to make sure that Ealy, Snoop Conner and Isaiah Woullard get touches as well.
“We have four guys that we feel comfortable with. Scottie is the veteran and is playing good football for us,” Rodriguez said.
On the season, Conner has gained 92 total yards on 18 touches with 5.1 yards per dash.
Coming into the Cal game, the Rebels will have to use a good mixture of the running game and the passing game.
“There is no question that Matt (Corral) has the ability to pass the ball. We are going to have to do both,” he said.
Ole Miss will take the gridiron against the Cal Golden Bears Saturday, Sept. 21. Kickoff is set for 11 a.m. on ESPNU.