The Ole Miss Rebels are 3-4 and have lost two in a row. They will be hosting the BCS number one team…
For much of this football season, the battle cry after a loss - and there have been four of them already - has been, "we'll get it right!" Sophomore MLB/DE D.T. Shackelford believes the time for that saying has passed. "There's no more 'we'll get it next time' as far as I'm concerned," he said. "No, we have to to get it now. That has to be the mood of the team. "We only have five more games left in the regular season and we have spent enough time trying to get things right. It's got to be now. Not next week or the week after. Time is running out on us if we are going to accomplish anything worthwhile. We have to feel the urgency to get it right today, tomorrow and the rest of the year." Like the punchline, 'I picked a bad day to stop drinking,' the Rebels have not picked the most opportunistic time to try to get it right. Auburn is currently number one in the BCS poll, they are undefeated and they have - arguably - the best player in the country - QB Cameron Newton - at the controls steering their 8-0 car. D.T. Shackelford "He is a tremendous player. Newton is so big, so fast and he can throw the ball," Shackelford said. "Auburn does so much in their offense that revolves around him. He's a great athlete, one of a kind." So what can the Rebs do to derail the Newton train? "We have to make sure we get 11 people to the ball at all times. We have to hit hard and tackle well," he continued. "It all revolves around him. The quarterback in any offense is the focal point, but there aren't too many walking around in college with his skill set. "Everything runs through him, so I don't think there's a danger of putting too much emphasis on Newton and the other guys beating us. It all starts with ball in his hands. They have other real good players - their running backs are good, their receivers are good, but none of them gets the ball unless he gets it to them." The Rebs had a really good - overall - tackling game against Alabama two weeks ago, but poor tackling was an issue the following week versus Arkansas. D.T. was surprised at the shoddy tackling against the Hogs. "We were all surprised, to be honest. We don't train all year long to miss tackles. We don't practice to miss tackles, but it's happened to us too much this year," he explained. "We are giving up way too many explosion plays. Nobody is really stuffing the ball down our throats, but we have given up too many big plays. "Long drives are not beating us. Big plays have been. Explosion plays can kill you. They wipe out everything you've done that is positive. We know teams are going to make plays, but we have to quit giving up the explosion plays." Shackelford said it's not a lack of effort. D.T. Shackelford "We see it on film - everyone is busting their butts and running to the ball, but we aren't finishing the plays. We have not been as disciplined as we need to be," D.T. assessed. "We just all have to do our jobs - nothing more, nothing less. "Get in your gap, do your job. Know where your help is and force the ball there. Just do our jobs. We know it's not a lack of effort. Nobody is lollygagging around. We just have to all get in the same page and doing the right things. When you are in position to make a play, make it." It sounds easy the way D.T. explains it. "We know it's not effort. We all know what to do. Now we just have to do it," he said. "What's tough is that we can all see it on film. We will be in position and then not get it done. That has to stop now. If we take away the explosion plays, we will be a good defense. Until then, we won't be." Shackelford has faith the ship will be righted on defense and when it is, he has faith the offense can finish the deal. "We have a good offense. We can have a good defense too and we can fix our problems on special teams, but we have to do all of that now," Shackelford. "If we do, we can have a really good football team. "But like I said, we can't have any more Monday's when we are in here with the media saying we'll get it right. It's time to get it right now." Auburn, aka the Cam Newton express, is a tough team to try to turn things around on, but D.T. makes good observations. Even through there are still five games left, it's getting more and more critical to get it right now and not later.
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