Donte Moncrief

Sept. 14, 2013

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Monday Blog: Preparing For Texas

Wednesday Blog: VIDEO: Freeze, Werner, Walton Talk Texas

AUSTIN, Texas -- Ole Miss is nationally ranked for the first time since 2009, with wins against Vanderbilt and Southeast Missouri, as it embarks on a challenging three-game road swing that starts tonight against the Texas Longhorns from Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium.

"We're excited to be 2-0 and to be going to Austin," head coach Hugh Freeze said. "It will be a great atmosphere, and they will have a chip on their shoulder. Texas will be ready to prove that they are better than they performed last week. We understand what we'll get from them.

"We'll have to challenge our kids to see if we can raise our game and match Texas' level of intensity. It'll be a hostile environment, and we have to prepare for several in a row. But it'll be a good experience for us, and I know our kids and coaches are looking forward to it and we're ready to go."

Texas enters Saturday's matchup with a 1-1 record, coming off a 40-21 road loss to BYU. Defensively, Texas allowed 550 rushing yards and four touchdowns on the ground.

"I expect them to be very emotional in front of their home crowd," Freeze said. "They will raise their game, and I expect to see the best that they can be. It won't be hard to get our guys up. They understand. We challenged them after the game the other night, and they will be anxious to get ready for this game and give them their best shot."

After the loss to BYU, head coach Mack Brown announced Sunday that Greg Robinson would replace Manny Diaz as defensive coordinator. Robinson has 36 years of coaching experience that includes 10 years in the NFL and a stint in 2004 as co-defensive coordinator for the Longhorns, which ended with an 11-1 record and their first BCS Bowl and Rose Bowl win over Michigan.

"It certainly is an uncomfortable feeling," Freeze said. "We already had a shell of a game plan together based on what they had done last year and early this year. Is it still a good plan? I don't know. Greg Robinson has been in this a lot of years. He's been there so he probably knows their terminology. We've watched his stuff from other schools where he's been. It is quite a bit different than what they have been doing.

"We've got to be who we are and try and figure it out, particularly on third down and in the red zone. A coach that's been in it this long, he'll have his ideas on what he should do with the talent that he has there."

It is also a rematch of last year's meeting in Oxford, which Texas won 66-31. Texas junior quarterback David Ash, who is questionable for Saturday's game, completed 19 of 23 passes for 326 yards and a career-best four touchdowns, as the Longhorns racked up 676 yards of total offense.

"It was quite embarrassing to be honest," junior defensive end C.J. Johnson said. "They pretty much came in and beat us like a drum. We had a lot of missed assignments. We weren't as physical, and we didn't play real well in the first half. It was just a bad game. We played a bad game."

A year later, the 25th-ranked Rebels ride a four-game win streak, the team's longest since winning eight straight between 2008 and 2009, and seek their first 3-0 start since 1989.

"It's certainly a measuring stick for us as to where we are right now," Freeze said. "I know our players are very excited for the opportunity, and we're looking forward to it.

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