- Carter Strickland, Reporter, HornsNation
Ole Miss record in 2012: 7-6, 3-5 in the SEC
Last meeting against Texas: The Longhorns won 66-31 in Oxford, Miss. in 2012.
All time against Texas: Texas leads 6-1.
Key losses: TE Ferbia Allen, DL Gilbert Pena, OL A.J. Hawins, DB Wesley Pendleton,
Rushing: Jeff Scott (846 yards)
Passing: Bo Wallace (63.9 percent completion, 22 touchdowns, 17 interceptions, 2,994 yards)
Receiving: Donte Moncrief (979 yards)
Tackles: Denzel Nkemdiche (82)
Sacks: C.J. Johnson (6.5)
Interceptions: Denzel Nkemdiche (3)
Did you know: Ole Miss signed 11 high school All-Americans, including the No. 1 player in the country, defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche. The class, which consisted of players from eight different states, also featured top-five position players at offensive line (Laremy Tunsil), wide receiver (Laquon Treadwell) and safety (Tony Conner). ESPN rated the class No. 5 nationally.
Three things to watch
Up front: Four of five starters return from an offensive line that was average last season. Ole Miss allowed 2.62 sacks per game, and quarterback Bo Wallace was on the run for much of the season. Laremy Tunsil, a true freshman who was regarded as one of the top recruits in 2013, will most likely find his way into that starting line by the time Ole Miss travels to Texas. Tunsil’s impact probably won’t be dramatic enough to turn the tide for this line in the early going.
Out wide: All nine of the wide receivers who lettered last year are back for the Rebels. Plus Ole Miss signed two highly regarded wide receivers in Laquon Treadwell and Quincy Adeboyejo. The Rebels, like Texas, will want to spread the ball and move it down the field as quickly as possible. But unlike Texas, Ole Miss has a deep enough receiving corps to keep fresh bodies in the game in an attempt to wear down the Texas defensive backs.
Under center: Wallace missed spring due to clavicle surgery (see note on offensive line). Wallace, who at one time caught the eye of Texas, was not afraid to pull the ball down and run with it last season. But he usually paid a price. Still Wallace accounted for 3,384 total yards, the second most in school history and given that he has a more experienced offensive line and wide receivers, the chances are if Wallace stays upright he will eclipse that number. Ole Miss does have a very good backup in Barry Brunetti. In fact, Brunetti had to come in and take a few snaps against Texas when Wallace was temporarily knocked out last year.
View from the other side with John Davis, sports editor, The Oxford Eagle
Is it realistic to think all the young talent signed by Ole Miss can make an impact in the early part of the year?
I think it's realistic for some of the skill players -- WR Laquon Treadwell, RB Mark Dodson -- to make a bigger impact than some of the linemen, but I do think a few, if not more than a handful, will help this year. This staff is counting on them to add depth and I think they will all get serious looks, which will also help.
Ole Miss had trouble protecting Bo Wallace last year. Has anything been done to shore up the offensive line?
The offensive line has a year under their belt with each other, coach Matt Luke and a year to get in better shape. I think all that helps, as do four returning starters from last year. Another thing is that the players signed will really push the older guys to perform.
Where will the big plays come from in the Ole Miss offense?
What, if anything, will Hugh Freeze do differently in year two as opposed to year one as it pertains to game-day coaching?
I think Coach Freeze does a little better, maybe a lot better job of making in-game decisions. I think that's what he lacked last year -- those quick, on-the-fly calls that have nothing to do with his offense or week-long prep.
What area on the Ole Miss defense needs to show the most improvement in 2013?
Getting more turnovers, but really, doing a better job of eliminating the big play. They got more pressure, the unit was better overall, but big plays in the passing game still bother the defense and coordinator Dave Wommack. That's a big area.