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September 28, 2012

Players to Watch: Ole Miss

ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE
A.J. McCarron
Position: Quarterback
Height: 6-4 Weight: 210 Class: Jr.
Key Stat: McCarron hasn't thrown an interception this season and is averaging nearly 205 passing yards per game while sitting out a good portion of the second half in most games.
Buzz: McCarron continues to grow and mature into his role as Alabama's offensive leader. He is reading defenses and finding the open man, and seems more and more comfortable in the pocket. Sooner or later, McCarron will be called upon to make plays or bring UA back from behind, but so far he has been very good.

Kenyan Drake
Position: Running back
Height: 6-1 Weight: 204 Class: Fr.
Key Stat: Drake is averaging just 31.5 yards per game in mostly mop-up duty, but a closer look reveals that he is gaining 9.7 yards per attempt and has scored three touchdowns on just 13 carries.
Buzz: Drake shows the burst to get into the open field and the speed to close the deal. True enough, Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon have mostly worn down the opposing defense by the time Drake arrives, but what he does with his sparse opportunities is a model for all backup players who want to earn more playing time.

Ed Stinson
Position: Defensive end
Height: 6-4 Weight: 282 Class: Jr.
Key Stat: Almost half of Stinson's tackles have been behind the line of scrimmage. He has been credited with 10.5 total stops this season, and five of those have been for losses.
Buzz: Stinson has one sack and a quarterback hurry, but has been most effective in getting into the backfield to disrupt running plays. All in all, Alabama has made 26 tackles behind the line of scrimmage for a total of 113 yards in losses for opponents, and Stinson is a ringleader in the tackle-for-loss gang. Others get more publicity, but Stinson is a handful.



OLE MISS REBELS
Bo Wallace
Position: Quarterback
Height: 6-4 Weight: 204 Class: Soph.
Key Stat: Wallace has completed 64 percent of his passes for 717 yards and seven touchdowns with four interceptions.
Buzz: Wallace, a junior college transfer, has injected some life into Ole Miss' new no-huddle offense. He's far from a pure passer, but he's a winner with a high school state championship and a junior college national title. He missed a practice this week with a shoulder injury, but head coach Hugh Freeze said midweek that he will be ready to go.

Jeff Scott
Position: Running back
Height: 5-7 Weight: 170 Class: Jr.
Key Stat: Scott is averaging 8.6 yards per carry, and is a big-play threat every time he touches the ball.
Buzz: Scott will pit his speed and shiftiness against an Alabama defense that has been stingy against the run and which has given up less than 250 total yards on the ground in four games and just two yards per carry. This will be the best test yet for the Alabama defense, and Scott presents the same kind of breakaway threat that Florida's small, speedy backs have presented in recent seasons.

Mike Marry
Position: Linebacker
Height: 6-3 Weight: 256 Class: Jr.
Key Stat: Marry is the leading tackler at Ole Miss with 22 stops in four games. The Rebels are giving up 25.8 points per game, even with a shutout over Tulane last week.
Buzz: Marry and the Rebels have been fairly solid against the run, at least statistically, allowing 125 yards per game, but have been torched for almost 250 yards per game through the air. The first order of duty for the Rebels will be to stop Alabama's running game, but devoting too many resources to that could leave the passing game wide open.


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