Q&A with the Daily Mississippian’s sports editor


Grayson Weir is the sports editor at Ole Miss’ student newspaper, the Daily Mississippian. Photo submitted by Weir.

Before this weekend’s game between UK football and the Ole Miss Rebels, the Kernel’s sports editor Chris Leach caught up with the Daily Mississippian’s sports editor Grayson Weir to talk about the game. Here’s the discussion.

Chris Leach: What did you see from quarterback Jordan Ta’amu in his first start? How do you think he’ll play against Kentucky?

Grayson Weir: At one point between the games against LSU and Arkansas, Ta’amu led seven consecutive scoring drives and outside of a costly botched read toward the end of last weekend’s heartbreaker and a few under-thrown balls, he’s looked great. I expect the Mariota-esque talent to slice and dice a defense that has struggled against dual-threat quarterbacks and the option.

CL: Mark Stoops said on Monday that Ole Miss’ wide receivers are the most talented group of receivers they’ll face up until this point. What is it about Ole Miss’ wide receivers that make them so dangerous?

GW: Size, speed, athleticism and depth. The Nasty Wideouts can beat the secondary one-on-one, in the flat, in a footrace and over the top. Really, there isn’t anything the NWOs can’t do, and each one of them is just as dangerously dynamic as the other.

CL: As of Monday evening, Kentucky was a 3.5-point favorite. Do you feel like that’s fair?

GW: More than. I don’t think anyone really knows which way this game will fold and the 3.5 points is simply a matter of someone having to win.

CL: Kentucky’s offense usually thrives best when they use short yardage plays to get down the field and take time off the clock. How do you think Ole Miss’ defense matches up against that style of offense?

GW: To this point, not well. In each of Ole Miss’ five losses, the opponent has dominated time of possession. While some of that comes from the offense’s explosiveness, it certainly isn’t a good sign. In an ideal world, the big uglies win the matchup in the trenches, the second level fills the gaps and the defense gets off the field on third down. In reality, Kentucky will have the ball a whole lot.

CL: Kentucky players say they prefer playing on the road than at home because there’s no distractions and they feel like it’s them versus the world. Does Ole Miss have that same mindset?

GW: That’s crazy! Playing at home is always an advantage and Lexington is certainly no exception. Ole Miss is unquestionably more comfortable in Oxford, but that doesn’t mean business as usual doesn’t continue on the road.

CL: Benny Snell was just named the SEC’s co-offensive player of the week after his 180-yard and three touchdown rushing performance. What will Ole Miss need to do in order to stop Snell?

GW: I don’t mean to come off snooty or sarcastic when I say this, but the defense just needs to stop him. No matter the game plan defensive coordinator Wesley McGriff has cooked up, the execution has lacked and opposing backs have run up and down and up and down and up and down. Seeing Snell on the horizon brings a chance for redemption, but it won’t come.

CL: Prediction?

GW: Honestly, Chris, I don’t have a definitive answer. My head says that, in typical Ole Miss fashion, it’s close through the first half but silly errors allow Kentucky to pull away in the second half behind a magnificent day from Snell. That being said, my gut (and heart) says that Ta’amu and the offense comes out firing on all cylinders and never flounders, the defense does just enough to control Snell and the Rebels leave Lexington with a high-scoring victory.