Rebels' passing attack gets more attention from defense

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ATHENS, Ga. - The Ole Miss offense was so one-dimensional last season that there were three constants in Oxford: lively tailgating at The Grove, hearing "Hotty Toddy" shouted at games and watching the Rebels run, run, run the ball.

"They were really going to just run that rock last year," Georgia coach Mark Richt said. "They were not passing the ball as well as they are this year. It's opening up their running game, too."

Ole Miss ran the ball on 42 of 57 plays in Georgia's 14-9 victory last season. BenJarvus Green-Ellis rushed for 135 yards on 24 carries.

Former starting quarterback Brent Schaeffer, who did not reach 200 yards passing in any game last season, passed for 87 yards against the Bulldogs.

This year, senior quarterback Seth Adams has done it three times in the Rebels' first four games despite battling a sore shoulder. Adams has a pair of 300-yard performances including an 18-of-31, 302-yard outing against Florida on Saturday.

Ole Miss has jumped from 112th in the nation in passing at 136.1 yards per game to 38th at 256 yards an outing.

"The main thing is we're doing a lot better job of executing," Adams said. "We're getting more comfortable with the offense now."

Ole Miss (1-3, 0-2 SEC) visits No. 15 Georgia (3-1, 1-1) Saturday at 1 p.m. still trying to climb out of the SEC West cellar.

The Rebels are 0-9 against ranked teams and 0-9 on the road in the SEC, but Richt saw Ole Miss give Florida a game in a 30-24 Gators' win Saturday.

"They were very impressive," Richt said. "I watched just about every snap. I was in my room and was kind of getting sick to my stomach watching it because they really looked good."

Instead of throwing the with the efficiency of Army, Air Force and Navy, Ole Miss is now in the top 30 in the nation in passing efficiency. The Rebels are fourth in the SEC in passing. Their eight touchdown catches trail only Tennessee, Florida, Kentucky and LSU in the conference.

"I'm really impressed with the play of our wide receivers," third-year Rebels coach Ed Orgeron said. "We thought it was going to be a weakness going into the season on our offense, but it has turned out to be a strength."


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