October 14, 2008

Rebels hope to conquer Mt. Cody

He stands 6-foot-5 and weighs 365 pounds.

That presents enough of a challenge for opposing offensive linemen.

But here's the real problem Terrence Cody presents: For a man who is absolutely massive, Alabama's nose guard can actually move and move well.

"Nobody's like him -- a guy that weighs that much and is still very agile and I mean a run-stopper," Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt said. "He does a good job of holding his gap and not too many people have moved him. He's just a good football player."

Ole Miss (3-3 overall, 1-2 in the Southeastern Conference) will try to find ways to move Cody out of the way on Saturday. It won't be easy, but it might be a necessity if the Rebels are to upset No. 2 Alabama (6-0, 3-0) at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

"We've got to do a great job," Nutt said. "We've got to do a great job of being physical and you've got to get your pads down and it's going to take a couple of our guys. We're going to need a couple of double-teams every now and then on him."

Thanks in large part to Cody, who has 15 tackles _ including 3 for loss _ and a quarterback hurry this season, Alabama has been almost impossible to run against this season. The Crimson Tide is allowing just 50.8 yards per game on the ground, No. 2 nationally in that all-important category.

"My role is just to hold down the middle," Cody said. "(Ole Miss does) a lot of trick plays and counters. They get the defense going one way then they cut back the other way. My job is to hold down the middle and keep the linebackers free."

Like Alabama, Ole Miss had last week off, meaning the Rebels' offensive linemen had some extra time to study Crimson Tide film and research ways to move the man who has earned the nickname, "Mount Cody."

"He's pretty much like a (Jerrell) Powe," Ole Miss center Daverin Geralds said, referring to the Rebels' heralded backup defensive tackle. "He may be a little bit bigger. That's about the only player I can compare him to. He's big. He's a space-eater. He does well for that 3-4 front that they're in. We just have to make sure we get a hat on him, that somebody stays on him and make sure that he doesn't occupy two of us. We have to make sure we get movement on him and get to those backers."

Ole Miss' offense is built on balance. The Rebels are most dangerous when they avoid third-and-long situations and keep opposing defenses guessing. The Rebels' running game has been coming around in recent weeks, making quarterback Jevan Snead and his posse of wide receivers more dangerous. That trend must continue for Ole Miss to have a shot at a shocker on Saturday. Unfortunately for the Rebels, there's no way to do that without limiting Cody's destruction.

"It's all a matter of pad level, staying low and everything," Geralds said. "He's pretty big, but he does a good job of playing with good pad level. I think if you stay low on him, you shouldn't have too many problems. The (center) from Georgia did a good job with his pad level against him."

"Player-wise, I would say he's similar to Freddie Barnett from Memphis but size-wise, he would be the top guy we've faced," Ole Miss offensive guard Maurice Miller said. "From what we've seen on film, he's basically a space-eater, so what we're focusing on is getting four hands on him, getting some movement on him and working to the secondary level and linebackers."

Despite Alabama's gaudy numbers against the run, Miller insists it's not a hopeless cause. The Rebels' offensive front has to be very good to pull it off, but he said a thorough film study has shown that Cody isn't super-human.

"From what we've seen on film, people have been doing a pretty good job of getting him where they want him to go and making a little hole or a gap for their running backs," Miller said. "What it looks like on film is his main part is trying to occupy at least two guys at a time, which would more than likely free up their linebackers to make plays.

"Tulane actually had a pretty good running game going here and there. That's mostly some of the film we've watched. Arkansas had a couple of creases their running back hit. There have been some nice little holes there."

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