Friday, August 31, 2007

Weekly Theme Music

Its the dawning of a new football season for the Rebels.

Hopefully the sun will shine on them this year.

And for predictions.

Memphis over Ole Miss.
(I expect their offense to be able to out score ours. Both defenses look awful.)
(Remember reverse jinxes.)

Taking Oklahoma St. at +6.5 over UGA,
K. State at +14.5 over Auburn (not to win just to cover),
Tennessee at +6.5 over Cal.

South Carolina, Vandy, Florida, Bama, Kentucky, and Arkansas all play Div. II cupcakes with no lines and should win huge.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Memphis Game Preview

The Rebels kick of the season this Saturday in the Liberty Bowl against the Memphis State Tigers on regional television CSS. Which is the only place you can see Walker Jones in high definition.

And you know you won't have biased commentary when the former assistant to the athletic director/ "Executive Director for Rebel Sports Marketing" for one of the schools and now TeleSouth Communications Vice President is your color commentator. Interesting rumor going around. ESPN wanted the game but on Sunday afternoon. Rebels refused to move the game to Sunday.

Ole Miss and Memphis are complete opposites other than the fact that both had horrible seasons last year. Memphis is coming off a season where they were embarrassing on defense. The Joe Lee Dunn era came to a crashing halt as he was fired mid season. Ole Miss on the other hand had one of the worst offenses in the SEC. If you watched any of the games stats are not needed to prove that point.
The top returning tacklers for Memphis are Mississippi products Heath Grant and Quinton McCrary. Which is not altogether surprising since Memphis has 21 Mississippians on the roster. Oddly though Heath Grant has been replaced during fall camp at middle linebacker by redshirt freshman "Stone" Bowens. The Memphis defense also packs a little Ole Miss flavor since three players and two starters are former Ole Miss players. Former Ole Miss linebacker Dontae Reed (who actually drew a start in Ogerzook's first season) will start at strong safety for the Tigers. Corey Mills and Jada Brown are one and two at left side defensive end. The Tigers hope this group has improved from last years defense which gave up 230 passing yards a game and 178 rushing yards a game. Even Ole Miss saw its highest offensive out put last season against the Tigers scoring 28 points.
On the other hand the Tigers return a pretty strong offensive team. The Tigers passing game was particularly solid group that could get plenty of yards running the spread offense. (Which Ole Miss has had trouble defending since it was invented.) Quarterback Martin Hankins returns after throwing for 2550 yards at 59.9% for 18 TDs with only 13 Ints. All-Purpose "Scat" back Joseph Doss returns after rushing for 910 yards last year and 205 receiving yards. (Topping the Predators all purpose yards 1115 to 1043) Memphis also returns a deadly group of receivers lead by Duke Calhoun who had 681 yards last season. They all have good size as well as Memphis has 5 receivers in there top 6 who are listed as 6'3" or taller. (Including one who is 6'8")

This spread offense will be a big challenge for a relitively green Ole Miss defense. The only linebacker returning from last year's team is Jonathan Cornell. And Cornell is apparently nicked up and wearing a yellow "no contact" jersey in practice this week. Expect the Tigers to also try to exploit Ole Miss's starting true freshman 282 pound middle linebacker Chris Herring Strong in the passing game as well. The strong side linebacker Ashley Palmer has never played linebacker before. Instead his background as a safety in junior college might prove helpful in stopping this vaunted passing attack. Jamarca Sanford and the defensive backfield will need to have a solid day in order to keep the Rebels in this game.

On offense expect the Rebels to have some growing pains in the passing game as well with first time starter Seth Adams. Luckily for the Rebels Seth shouldn't have to do to much. The Rebels offensive line should be able to control the relatively small defensive front. The Tigers also like ideal speed at the linebacker position. Therefore the Predator should have a pretty good day running with the football. With the Rebels controlling the ground game Seth shouldn't have to do to much and just keep from giving up the costly turnovers that will kill a team. Just ask Hening. I'm expecting a lot of offense in this one as both defenses start the game looking sloppy. Could come down to which offense doesn't self destruct. Of course I predict that so expect another 3 to 0 game like the last time I went the Liberty Bowl.

The Ballad of Jerrell Powe

Set to Lynyrd Skynyrd's Ballad of Curtis Loew.

Well I used to login in the mornings before the rooster crowed
Searching for recruiting stories on the Rebels you know.
Read about the Dandy Dozen, players that would save the Rebs
Cash all my hopes in to a man named Jerrell Powe.

Old 57 was a defensive tackle weighted about 300 pounds
When he took the field no offense couldn’t get off the ground
He used to own triple teams, used to throw linemen across his knee
When Jerrell committed I knew he’d play all day for me

Get me a sack Jerrell Powe, Jerrell Powe
They’ve got the receivers covered, find the ball carrier to bruise
People said he was useless, them people are the fools
cause Jerrell Powe was the finest tackle to ever were the Reb’s blues

He looked to get eligible, and I was optimistic then
His failed two times but I’d hold out hope again
Then the University admitted him to practice, he was on the field in no time
He’d play a series or two
Then make the offense all whine.

Yes sir

On the day old Jerrell was denied, no more could he come to play
Ol NCAA said some words, and they let him stay in school without delay
But he lived a lifetime following the NCAA’s rules
And on the day he lost his eligibility, thats all he had to lose

Get me a sack Jerrell Powe, Jerrell Powe
They’ve got the receivers covered, find the ball carrier to bruise
People said he was useless, them people are the fools
cause Jerrell Powe would be the finest tackle to ever were the Reb’s blues

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Weekly Theme Music

Its game week so this is the last of the summer tributes.

And it goes out to a bar-managing, loan sharking Nautolan who's quite nocturnal.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Are You Ready For Some Football

Now that we know who's officially the starting quarterback and we're only a few days away from game week its time for a season prospectus.


First the positives.

The Starting Offensive Line. The offensive line really came together last year by the end of the season and was a solid performing group that created a strong running game. 4 of 5 starters return. The Rebels loose Hacksaw Wicker who had a great senior year but the word is Reid Neely has turned the corner and they expect him to have a great year replacing Wicker. Micheal Oher is back and ready to show the world why they are making a movie about him. John Jerry is a beast and Mo Miller and Corey Actis shore up a veteran group. The key to this group is avoiding injuries as the Ogerzook himself noted the difference between the first and second unit's were "night and day."

Running Backs. Regardless its a solid first unit that should pave the way for a good running game. BenJarvis 'The Predator" Green-Ellis is one of the more durable backs in the SEC. He doesn't have true break away speed and won't burn you for the long touchdown nor is he amazingly elusive. But he's a grinder and great for SEC play. He keeps pounding on the defensive and usually has his best stats in the second half of the game as he's worn out the opponents defense. He should have a solid season once again and prove durable for a lot of carries. One of the better backs in the SEC. And the Rebels have great depth behind him. Don't bring me down Bruce Hall is a great change of pace back and has good hands in the receiving game. He's also and ex-quarterback which opens trick play opportunities. Cordera Eason is clearly the back of the future and should be one of the better backs in the SEC in a few years. Look for him to get more carries this year.

The Defensive Line. This is a solid mix of talented players. The Rebels have a number of veterans in Chris Bowers, Viciente DeLoach, Jeremy Garrett, Peria Jerry, Brandon Jenkins, Daverin Geralds, Marcus Tillman and Greg Hardy. This should give the Rebs some depth which they were sorely lacking last year and help them battle injuries and stay fresh. They also will add some good newcomers that should get playing time in Chris Herring Strong, Ted Laurent, and Kentrell Lockett. I would not be surprised to see Laurent play a lot as the season progresses.

However, I'm not as excited about this group as I was when I started writing this prospectus. I was shocked to hear Daverin Geralds was starting and I was hoping to have Jerrell Powe at that point.

Defensive Backs. The Rebels also return some experienced DBs in Nate Banks, Jarmaca Sandford, Terrell Jackson, Dustin Mouzon, and Cassius Vaughn. Jarmaca is one of the Rebels surest tacklers and a leader on the defense. Kendrick Lewis who was moved to defense in the offseason, and Johnny Brown have gotten good press as newcomers that should play this year.


The Negatives.

Linebackers. The Linebacker core sounds like a disaster. The Coaching staff kept Chris Herring Strong there for two weeks after he reported at 282 pounds. This shows the desperation the staff has at finding linebackers that can play that they kept him there that long. Expect some spin about wanting speed on the defensive line but the truth of the matter is they obviously thought they needed him there and kept him there out of desperation. It doesn't bode well either for Tony Fein that a 282 pound linebacker had him beat on the depth chart. Converted Safety Ashlee Palmer will have to start at one of the linebacker spots. Look for walk on Jamie Phillips to either start at the other or be the top back up. Jonathan Cornell will have to start at middle or possibly weak side. Other backups are Tony Turner and Brandon Thomas and juco transfer Lamar Brumfield. The most important position on defense is missing playmakers, experience, and depth. With only Cornell returning from last year with any significant snaps expect some growing pains early in the season as they adjust to SEC football especially against spread offenses.

The passing game. Lets just say I'm nervous about the Seth Adams era. When your quarterback couldn't start for Delta State it makes me nervous. That said he'll be an improvement in this offense to Brent Schaeffer. But I'll always wonder if Schaeffer could be a decent quarterback in the right system, one like Virgina Tech's. The Rebels also have a great cast of secondary receivers but they don't have that one play maker who will always get the ball. Marshay and Dexter have good speed and Shay Hodge has pretty good hands, Michael Hicks has good size so its a serviceable unit. But with a quarterback like Seth Adams who admittedly doesn't have the greatest arm strength you'd like to have that one dominate number one receiver. I think Mico McSwain could have been that guy but he was ruled academically ineligible. Tightend is a non issue in this offense so it doesn't matter how athletic Robert Lane is. Goes to show why they have three scholarship tightends on the roster and only one of them, Robert Hough, was signed to play tightend. (David Traxler is the other.)

In the SEC quarterback play separates the good teams from the poor and mediocre ones. The problem is that when you become overly one dimensional on offense then defenses can scheme against you and stop your strengths. So good teams should be able to stop our running game and force the passing game to beat us which could put the whole offense in trouble.


The Season Projection

My realistic season projection is 3-9 but if I had to go out and pick games I can only honestly see the Northwestern State game and La Tech as sure victories. I can't pick us as a favorite over any team that runs the spread offense so Memphis is out. Missouri would be regardless of what offense they run but with their playmakers in the spread offense I see a reenactment of last years disaster.

I think they could slip up on someone but in the Ogerzook era we haven't managed to show the Rebel's are capable of a big upset. Everybody gives the Croomdog a hard time, and rightfully so for any team that can't beat Tulane, but at least the term "Croomed" came out because he pulls a big upset every year.

LSU, Missouri, Florida, Georgia, Bama, Arkansas, and Auburn are sure defeats. Vandy, Memphis, and State are possibles. I don't think we win at Vandy this year as they should be improved. Memphis the aforementioned spread offense, and Croom's 2005 egg bowl whipping keep me from penciling those in as wins.

So final season prediction 2-10.

(Of course this is also a little reverse jinx because whenever I pick the Rebels to win they blow it. So you'll thank me later.)


The Red and Blue Glasses Season Projection.

Before the Chris Herring Strong revelation I was starting to build a little hope. He'd take the SEC by storm and dominate the middle of the field. Jerrell Powe would team with Peria Jerry to stop the rushing game. Marcus Tillman would get into the opposing team's backfield. Seth Adams could be the next Stewart Patridge and do the little things and not make mistakes. Well not so much become Stewart Patridge but bring down the number of interceptions.

Well at least Marcus Tillman kept on track. Peria's fighting injuries, Powe didn't get eligible and Chris turned out to be overweight significantly. But if the team pulls together around Seth. Ted Laurent is the man beast in the middle. Fein figures out SEC play and locks down the MLB spot. Cornell and Palmer take care of the outside spots. Greg Hardy does what he does. Jamarca and crew shut down the passing game and figure out the spread offense. Markeith Summers becomes the go to receiver and Lane becomes the great redzone tightend. The Predator runs all over the SEC.

Then things start looking better. We go to the Bluff City and rightfully take our SEC pride to the Memphis tigers and start the season with a victory. We keep history in our favor and give Vandy back their spot at the bottom of the SEC. Take care of business over La Tech and Northwestern. Upset Alabama with a new coach at home. Finish off the season with a win over State in the EGG bowl.

We're 6-6 and bowling! Shreveport baby!

Some Fond Farewells

Its always sad when you have to say goodbye to someone.

Even when it's Dave Rowe. Rowe was easily the worst sports broadcaster I can remember. He made Joe Theisman seem insightful. He made Dick Vitale seem reserved and Joe Morgan prepared. Every year he got even more over the top as if he thought if I can just come up with the next big Sportscenter catch phrase than I'll get promoted to national telecasts. However "Big Man On Big Man" just never caught on other than as joke to reference the shoddy quality of JP sports. But sadly as annoying as Rowe was he was a part of College Football Saturday. His drive you up the wall antics help remind you why the game was a Jefferson Pilot game after all. It just won't be the same if JP goes all hightech on us and actually puts out a slick production and starts actually getting camera's on field goals, stops cutting to plays after they begin, fix the audio, and have a purple nexium first down line that is not superimposed on top of the players. There's no way they would get rid of the Brooks & Dunn intro though as proud as they are of it.

It feels weird to feel sad about Dave Rowe leaving JP because for years I complained about how annoying he was. Now that he's gone you just feel like he's taking a little bit of Jefferson Pilot with him. Which is actually a good thing. At least they replaced him with another Dave to protect the holy Dave Triumvirate.

I also bid a fond farewell to good friend and fellow blogger Clarence Worley who was last seen rambling about the musical talents of Meatloaf on March 22. No reasons have been given for his disappearance and at this point the authorities are presuming he's dead.

We'll miss the Meat of the Week and I know that Dude and the Saved By the Bell References.

We'll sadly miss you Clarence.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Return Of American Gladiators

NBC has announced the return of the greatest game show of all time, American Gladiators.

Some of my favorite challenges were The Assault, Breakthrough and Conquer, The Gauntlet, and Powerball. I'm excited to see what updates they make to the show. Especially if they can come up with something better than the Eliminator to determine the winner of the show. That was the worst challenge they had and it always made the end anticlimactic.

And thank goodness Larry Csonka survived his scare at sea so that he can return to host the show.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Weekly Theme Music

Because I'm excited to see Jerrell Powe toe the line.

Oh and I guess this is dedicated to um a Yuzzum that lived at the Ranch that was quite musically inclined and played multiple instruments.

My All Time Favorite Rebel Team

While reviewing some old media guides this summer I decided to go through and pick out who would make my all time favorite team. This is not as simple as picking a favorite year but picking different players over my career of following the Rebels. Naturally the players will have a little post 1990 feel to them since anything before that was a little before my time. I loved Rebel football in the 80's but I couldn't tell you the name of every player back then. Now every member of the elusive G.I. Joe roster I would have been on top of that.

One major caveat is that this is my favorite Rebels. Not necessarily the best of this era. Obviously good play on the field helps ender one so that this team would still win a lot of games. I also decided to employ a 3-4-4 defense because my favorite players dictated such.

Kick Returner - John Avery
Place Kicker - Les Binkley
Punter -
Long Snapper - A.J. Kiamie

Defensive End - Marcus Tillman
Defensive Tackle - Kendrick Clancy
Nose Tackle - Kenny Jackson

Linebacker - Abdul Jackson
Linebacker - Nate Wayne
Linebacker - Eddie Strong
Linebacker - Patrick Willis

Defensive Back - Syniker Taylor
Defensive Back - Kenny Woods
Defensive Back - Ken Lucas
Defensive Back - Alundis Brice

Nickel Back - Terrell Jackson
Backup Linebacker - Justin Wade
Backup Lineman - Norman Hand

Wide Receiver - Kerry Johnson
Wide Receiver - Corey Peterson
Wide Receiver - Ta'Boris Fisher
Tight End - Rufus French

Right Offensive Tackle - Todd Wade
Left Offensive Tackle - Terrence Metcalf
Right Offensive Guard - German Bello
Left Offensive Guard - Doug Buckles
Center - Matt Luke

Fullback - Charles Stackhouse
Running Back - Deuce McAllister
Quarterback - Eli Manning

Backup Receiver - Chris Collins
Backup Center - Andrew "Hacksaw" Wicker
Backup Guard - Marcus Johnson
Backup Tackle - Belton Johnson
Backup Tight End - Wesley Walls
Backup Running Back - Dou Innocent
Backup Quarterback - Stewart Patridge