Kentucky coach Rich Brooks admits Mississippi's speed worries him.
"I hope we are playing faster. We've got to show we can play fast against a fast team. I know we are capable. That's why you go to games," he said. "But it is a huge game because it is our conference opener and it is at home. As I have read and heard and seen, this is a winnable game."
Mississippi (1-1) is coming off a 34-7 loss at Missouri. The Rebels were limited to only 162 total yards and quarterback Brent Schaeffer threw three interceptions. Mississippi is last in total offensive in the SEC with an average of 249.5 yards per game while Kentucky is 11th in total defense at 420 yards per game.
"Their quarterback has a strong arm and can run as well as anybody we will see at that position," Brooks said. "He can scramble and look down the field and find receivers. He's a very dangerous player."
Mississippi ran out of the Power-I formation often in its win over Memphis. Against Missouri, the Rebels went to more of a spread offense.
"We are a little perplexed on what to prepare for. We don't have a consistent read on what they will do," Brooks said.
Ole Miss is a team that is very good on defense even though their statistics don't indicate. One problem have when offense not control football a little bit. Defense has been on the field a lot and they have played two pretty good offensive teams.
Willis is as good linebacker as seen in quite a few years. He makes tackles all over the field. Need to block in running game and make sure not in on your quarterback.
The Rebels feature Indiana transfer BenJarvus Green-Ellis at running back.
"Anybody that can carry the ball is a concern for our defense. We have to show we can stop the run against somebody in our league," the UK coach said.
Brooks says the team's "most explosive" player is true freshman receiver Dexter McCluster. He has 214 yards on kickoff returns, 123 yards receiving and 59 yards rushing. "He can really run," Brooks said.
The Mississippi defense is led by linebacker Patrick Willis.
"He is as good a linebacker as I have seen in quite a few years. He makes tackles all over the field," Brooks said. "They have great speed. And they are all very good tacklers."
" We are going to have a big task. It's the SEC. Any time you step into conference play, you are going to play against a good team," Keenan Burton, UK's top receiver said.
Kentucky will start Trai Williams at right guard over Fatu Turituri this week. That's the only change expected on offense unless either Zipp Duncan or T.C. Drake starts at tight end if Jacob Tamme's hamstring injury prevents him from playing.
Brooks isn't sure whether Braxton Kelley or Micah Johnson will start at middle linebacker. Each has made one start.
"Both did some good things, but neither one is playing to the level expected of starters," Brooks said.
True freshman Corey Peters made his first start at defensive tackle last week and kept his position. "I thought Corey Peters had a very good game in his first start. He played extensively and played well. His playing time will increase," Brooks said.
Defensive end Jeremy Jarmon, a redshirt freshman, also caught Brooks' eye. "He still has to use his hands better, but he's a big body that can run. His playing time will probably increase."