Defense will be key for Ole Miss, Mississippi State

Much of the talk around Ole Miss and Mississippi State this summer has been about offense — the Rebels’ addition of former Oregon quarterback Jeremiah Masoli and year two of Dan Mullen’s offensive blueprint in Starkville.
But when the Rebels and Bulldogs take the field next month, their defenses will carry them.
The contrast between the units is at its starkest in Oxford, where a defensive front seven that should be among the SEC’s best routinely roughed up an offensive line that is clearly a work in progress with three new starters. Few playmakers have emerged at receiver and Houston Nutt now faces the prospect of getting Masoli up to speed in less than a month if he’s to hand the reins of the offense over to the newest Rebel, as so many in Oxford expect.