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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

ESPN’s Huard expects entertaining Music City Bowl

BLOG — Ole Miss and Georgia Tech are just hours away from meeting in today’s Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl at LP Field in Nashville, Tenn. ESPN is broadcasting the game and former University of Washington quarterback Brock Huard will be serving as the color analyst.

Huard, who was in Oxford for Ole Miss’ 2012 meeting with Texas, talked about the two different styles that the Rebels and Yellow Jackets have to deal with.

“When you look at Georgia Tech and them having to deal with this style of offense, one that spreads the field, and them trying to cover, which has been a real challenge for them this year in some of the matchups with a similar style. Clemson, in particular, is a similar type team that uses everyone on the field and got some very nice skill players. (Tech) had a very difficult day stopping them,” Huard said. “When I downloaded my game tape and tried to find a comparable team to what Georgia Tech does and who they’ve faced, I guess you could say Auburn is the closest with some of the things they do in the run game but Ole Miss hasn’t faced an offense a team that really does what they do. And for Georgia Tech, they have faced a team like this and they had a hard time dealing with that passing game.”

Huard said what he saw in Ole Miss is a program that is trying to take the next step.

“I think Hugh (Freeze) has already recruited well. That story has been well documented and well told. I think he will be able to recruit a lot of the speed and athleticism that he covets in his scheme and style but I think the thing that stood out, to me, and at the end of the year and in the Egg Bowl, was the challenge they face up front and at the line of scrimmage,” Huard said. “I think they lacked some of the size and strength that you want on both sides of the ball, especially defensively. I think that’s going to be a continued area of focus and continued growth and in that conference, to take the next step, they’re going to have to get better there, at the point of attack, on both sides.”

Today’s game was the first time that Huard was going to watch Georgia Tech in person but he said there is a misconception about how athletic the Jackets are overall.

“There is this misconception that Georgia Tech is this old-school, simple, three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust offense. When I turn the tape on, they do a lot of different things offensively. It does center around a run game that uses old-school leverage and style but they have an amount of unbalanced and motions and shifts, there is a lot for the Rebels to get ready for and things coming their way,” Huard said. “It’s low pads wins with Georgia Tech and it’s hard to replicate it in practice. It’s so far outside of what Ole Miss wants to do offensively with their spread and their style.”

The matchup that Huard favored the Rebels was on the outside with wide receivers Laquon Treadwell and Donte Moncrief. He added that he felt like the game would be in the 30s from a scoring standpoint.

“Georgia Tech doesn’t have anyone on the scout team with the kind of speed on the perimeter that Ole Miss has offensively,” Huard said. “This is a tale of two styles and which one is going to win it. I can’t wait to watch it. I do think it’s one of those matchups with the clash of styles that you get in the bowl season that is awfully fun to watch.” (December 30, 2013)

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