- Alex Scarborough, ESPN Staff Writer
Ole Miss wide receiver Donte Moncrief is more than familiar with what his teammates will face when they travel Saturday to Tuscaloosa, Ala., to face the No. 1 Crimson Tide. He grew up knowing what trips to Bryant-Denny Stadium sounded like and felt like.
"I know how the crowd is -- very loud," he said. "There's a lot of energetic people in the crowd trying to get Alabama to make big plays."
Now a sophomore and Ole Miss' leading receiver with 343 yards and four touchdowns, he knows what he has to do on his return trip to the University of Alabama.
"We've got to make big plays and shut 'em up," he said.
Moncrief grew up rooting for the Crimson Tide. As a child he'd go to Tuscaloosa with his father, a Florida fan, and started pulling for the Crimson and White. Living in Raleigh, Miss., he was actually closer to Bryant-Denny Stadium than he was to Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford, Miss.
He signed with Ole Miss in 2011 and has yet to make a return trip to Tuscaloosa.
Last season, No. 2 Alabama traveled to Oxford and beat the Rebels 52-7 as Moncrief finished with one catch.
This year, Alabama enters the game as the No. 1 team in the country, and Moncrief said he's ready for the challenge -- this time in a familiar setting.
"It's something that I've always wanted," he said of playing at Bryant-Denny.
In advance of the game, Moncrief spoke to TideNation about the matchup and what Ole Miss must do to be successful:
Scarborough: How is the team feeling heading into this weekend's game against Alabama?
Moncrief: Big game, big team. Everybody knows we have to come with everything we've got.
Scarborough: How has the offense changed with coach Hugh Freeze?
Moncrief: It's fast-paced. You have to be in shape. You have to be ready for the ball when you don't expect it. That's all it is, just a lot of fact pace instead of slow to get the defense on their heels.
Scarborough: How would you assess the success of the offense so far?
Moncrief: It's been very effective. When the defense gets tired, it's hard to change the play call.
Scarborough: Freeze called Alabama the gold standard in college football Wednesday. What do you think about that? Do you think he's right?
Moncrief: I think they're a very formidable team. They're very physical. You just have to come out and be ready and not give up just because the name is Alabama. You have to play as hard as you can and give it everything you've got.
Scarborough: What have you seen from the Alabama defense?
Moncrief: They're very big, very fast, very physical. They like to hit so it's just a hard-nosed defense.
Scarborough: Is there an area you think you can attack it? Is it your team speed?
Moncrief: We just have to get them on their heels in the secondary and make big plays for our offense.
2dGreg Ostendorf and Alex Scarborough