Rebels have to find a way around Arkansas' Andrews

Updated: October 23, 2003, 1:28 PM ET

OXFORD, Miss. -- Josh Cooper is no dummy.

The 6-foot-4, 245-pound Mississippi defensive end knows he's not about to outmuscle Arkansas' massive tackle Shawn Andrews.

"Speed and patience are really the only ways to get by him," Cooper said. "It's impossible to use strength or bull rush him because he's so much stronger. You try to get a step ahead of him on the snap or maybe use a spin. You have to know where and when to move."

Most guys who lineup against the 6-5, 353-pound Andrews end up moving backward.

Cooper will try to avoid being flatten when Ole Miss (5-2, 3-0 Southeastern Conference) hosts the 21st-ranked Razorbacks (4-2, 1-2) on Saturday.

Andrews and the four seniors who make up Arkansas' offensive line are paving the way for the No. 1 rushing offense (225 yards per game) in the SEC and second-ranked total offense (434.5 ypg).

But the Razorbacks' vaunted running game could be missing their best two ball carriers against the Rebels.

Cedric Cobbs (hamstring) and De'Arrius Howard (ankle) are both questionable. The injuries might force Razorbacks coach Houston Nutt to turn to a couple of former running backs.

Linebacker Brandon Holmes and receiver DeCori Birmingham have both worked at tailback in practice this week.

It might not matter who is running the ball for the Hogs, as long as they are running behind Andrews.

The junior All-American is the rarest of offensive linemen, a player so good he makes defenses adjust the way they attack an offense.

"Yes, he does make you compensate some things, whether it's in the run game or the passing game," Mississippi coach David Cutcliffe said. "He's a very dominant player. Probably the best in the country."

Cutcliffe said Andrews stacks up with the best he's ever seen in the SEC.

Unable to beat Andrews physically, opponents have tried to trick him.

"A couple of times I've noticed the last couple of games in pass protection, they had another guy on my side to throw us off and confuse us," he said. "We've seen just about every thing we could see against Texas. It's pretty much nothing new, you just have to keep your head up."

Andrews isn't the only All-American in his family. His older brother, Stacy, who is a reserve tackle for the Rebels, earned national honors in the weight and discuss throw for the Ole Miss track and field team the last two years.

Stacy Andrews didn't play football in high school or his first three years of college. Last year, the 6-5{, 330-pounder decided to give it try and was redshirted.

He has played sparingly this year, but is such a gifted athlete he might have a future in the game.

"Every snap, in a game and in practice, he gets better," Cutcliffe said. "He's very gifted and hopefully he's going to get to a point where he can be a part of the rotation and play on a regular basis."

The last time Arkansas played at Ole Miss, Stacy Andrews was in the stands as Shawn and the Razorbacks defeated the Rebels 58-56 in seven overtimes two years ago.

Now, Shawn is hoping to watch see his brother play.

"I'll get to see it from that aspect and I think that's going to be cool to actually see my brother out there in action," Shawn Andrews said.

Stacy Andrews said, "I know he's been talking a lot about coming over and playing. My mom is real excited about it."

And which team will Linda Andrews be rooting for?

"She's trying to get a half-and-half T-shirt made," Shawn Andrews said.

This story is from's automated news wire. Wire index