The Bulldogs are going to look like they're partying on the Chattahoochee this weekend.
UGA by more than 18 over Ole Miss
Alabama over +2.5 FSU
Vandy over -20.5 Eastern Mich
North Texas to cover +35.5 Arkansas
Kentucky over -23.5 FAU
LSU over -41 Tulane
Friday, September 28, 2007
The Bulldogs are going to look like they're partying on the Chattahoochee this weekend.
The Rebels travel to Athens this week to face the ranked Georgia Bulldogs. After a relative down year last year these Bulldogs look improved. They still maybe a little overrated but they are a solid team that will give the Rebels trouble.
On offense they have two solid running backs in Thomas Brown and Knowshon Moreno. Moreno actually leads the team in rushing at 85 yards a game. Which is a mis leading stat since the Predator is fifth in the league in yards at a 100 yards a game because of his one big game against Missouri. The Rebels are however sitting currently at 12th in the league in rushing offense with only 3.6 yards per carry.
1) I don't think there is a worse tackling defense in the SEC, SunBelt, SWAC, or even the Pac-10.
2) How bad would this offense be without Seth Adams? He's looks like one of the best passers in the SEC right now.
1) There offense is suspect. Stafford's streaky and the running backs are a solid but not scary group.
2) They have a lot of speed on defense. Will be hard to score on. Play with a lot of discipline.
1) Not as elite as last year.
2) Not on the same level as LSU. (Sadly)
3) They do have tons of speed all over the field.
4) Passing game has a lot of issues. Tebow is not very accurate on long throws and relies on the receiver to come to the ball. He missed several mid range completions against the Rebels. Keeps his completion percentage up by throwing a lot of short range and safe completions.
5) Will get upset by someone this year. My guess at this point is South Carolina.
1) I hate LSU so I hate saying this. They are the tops of college football right now. I do not see them loosing to anyone. South Carolina looks like the best team in the East so far and they decisively beat them. I don't think Southern Cal, Oklahoma, Florida, or West Virgina would have a chance. Pray for Tulane this weekend.
1) They are an improving team and will get better each week. Would much rather face them earlier in the season, like UGA did, than later in the season, like say an Auburn.
1) Great offense. Will have a solid season but as soon as Andre Woodson has a bad game, and it will happen, they will have a terrible loss. If and when he has a poor game they can get beat by anyone.
1) Appears to have a very solid defense. Lots of depth and rotate players in and out. Guys who were not even on the second string pre-season depth chart played extensively and made plays early in the first quarter.
2) Had a very impressive goal line stand where they held on first and goal from the one. Shows they will be difficult to run the ball on.
3) Have intercepted their opponents in the the opponents first drive for a touchdown in three straight games. Not really an observation but a crazy stat.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Bruce Hall ran well and should get more carries. Even take some away from the Predator because at this point with the way defenses are stacking the line the Predator bruising and plodding style is hindering the offense more than it's helping. Requiring Seth Adams to do it all. In the game Don't Bring Me Down Bruce averaged 8.2 yards a carry to the Predators 3.4.
Burnell Mike Wallace had another big day and is showing to be a great deep threat. However Shay Hodge is the receiver that really stepped up huge in this game. He was the leading reciever in yards (81) and catches (7). He's got good hands and is becoming the go to guy when we need a first down. He had multiple big catches in the game and on his touchdown he simply timed the defender out of a pick for the score. That touchdown was a turning point in the game and was when the offense started getting the team relatively back into the game. And for that Shay gets the game ball.
Tackling is still atrocious. Cody Paul's competition, the little leaguers in California tackle better. Tebow averaged over 6 yards a carry and at least 4 yards of everyone of those carries had to be after contact. The coaching staff keeps making an excuse about how it will get better once we face a non-spread offense. If the Rebels keep tackling like this it won't matter what offense they face.
This was a classic case of a top team taking a weak off because they felt the game was going to win itself. Which it did. The gators played nearly as poor as they could and still beat Ole Miss with Seth Adams firing on all cylinders. They'd watched the Vandy tape and didn't think there was a possibility that they could loose to the Rebels. And they were right.
You want irrefutable proof that Florida came out uninspired? They had 127 penalty yards. Good teams do not have over a hundred penalty yards or 14 total penalties when they are playing focused football. This is what kept the game close. Along with some curious 3rd down calls by Florida* and an overly gambling defense looking for the highlight real instead of just trying to make the play.
So spare me if I don't buy the whole, "If we could just play like we did against Florida every game" argument.
*(Seriously. Tebow's running for 6 yards a carry. You need 3 for the first. You bring out 5 receivers. The middle of the field is wide open. Tebow's been struggling all day with the deep pass. Why throw it?)
Monday, September 24, 2007
6) Ole Miss
1) South Carolina
Friday, September 21, 2007
One of those unfortunate games where even if the Rebels play the best game they can and Florida plays their worst. The Rebels still loose. So I'm not going to spend a lot of time breaking it down. Tebow, Tony Joiner, Percy Harvin, etc. they have a lot of playmakers.
If they have a weakness it's the middle of the defensive line. But just because they are young. They completely killed Tennessee's running game. Especially on short yardage.
1) Without a doubt the worst team in the SEC.
2) Talent wise they could be competitive.
3) They will be out coached in 12 out of 12 games.
4) Florida and LSU will combine to score over a hundred points on Ole Miss.
5) Ole Miss will not score 22 combined points in the LSU/UF games.
6) The offense over achieved the first two weeks against very poor defenses. The Rebels will struggle offensively once the competition increases just as they did in 2006.
7) Dan Werner's offense does not maximize the players he has.
1) This is not a great Vandy game. Ole Miss was just that bad.
2) They won't have a winning season; no bowl.
3) Good teams will score a lot of points on them and keep the ball away from them with a dominate ball controlling offense.
1) They are the team that will give LSU a run for the SEC title.
2) The LSU/UF game will be one of the biggest regular season games in history.
3) Their offense is amazing.
4) Tebow can throw the ball.
5) The defense is capable of giving up a big play because their play makers as so good they gamble from time to time.
1) They have a great running game that will take them to a big time bowl this year.
2) Their defense is suspect. But then Darren McFadden will make anyone look suspect.
3) Deserve to be in the top 25.
1) Auburn has a very difficult schedule this year. If they can't fix the offense soon they could end up with a loosing record.
2) The running game is dreadful and is what is really killing Auburn. Its one thing to turn the ball over in the passing game but when you fumble that many times you can't win.
3) Auburn will still have no problem beating Ole Miss.
1) Without Darren McFadden and Felix Jones they might be a sub 500 team.
2) They would kill Ole Miss without both.
3) Since they will have both, it will be another very ugly game for the Rebel defense.
1) Is very overrated.
2) They might finish in 5th place in the East.
3) They will still drub Ole Miss.
1) Will drub Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl.
2) Has a far superior defense to the Rebels.
3) Could very well win 6 games and go to a bowl.
4) State has another upset left in them.
5) Tuberville will not be Croomed.
6) Biggest remaining game is the Tennessee game. If UT does not get everything together by then State could pull off another upset.
7) Fulmer could be Croomed if they loose.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Last week I called on the Rebel receiving corps to have someone step up as a go to guy. For the first time in a couple of years we did. Burnell Mike Wallace stepped up big time and had a big day. He had 139 yards with two touchdowns. The first TD was an amazing catch in the corner of the endzone. The second one came late and he streaked 54 yards down the sideline. Clearly deserving game ball recog
The biggest problem the team has is lack of linebackers that can make plays. The Rebels two leading tacklers against Vandy were the strong safety and a cornerback. Tony Fein had 9 tackles and Ashlee Palmer had 8. The rest of the linebackers to record a tackle were Jamie Phillips with 5, Chris Herring Strong with 3 and starter Lamar Brumfield with 2.
The true ugly from this game was Ogerzook complaining about the number of outside linebackers on the team and their play. According to the "I'm In" crowd its all because Cutcliffe left the "cubard bare." But according to Ogerzook we've been dominating the State in recruiting and he had three years to get players. So which one is it? Are we dominating in recruiting or do we not have the athletes on defense? Sounds like the same ole excuses we've always heard in a wait till next year approach. And either way we had the players and the talent to beat Vanderbilt.
Ogerzook hotseat watch: Up to Number 7.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
One of my journalistic hero's, Rick Cleveland, had the following to say after Saturdays disappointment, " Ole Miss didn't look as big, as quick or as fast as Vanderbilt.
Friday, September 14, 2007
The Rebels and your's truly are heading up to the big city in the SEC this weekend. Hopefully the City doesn't own the the Rebels.
Rebels +4.5 over Vandy.
(Don't think they can stop the Predator)
MSU to cover +13 over Auburn
Florida -8 over Tenn
Kentucky -6.5 over Louisville
Bama -3.5 over Ark
LSU -41 over Middle Tenn.
Vanderbilt's coming off a tough loss that many of their fans thought they should have been able to pull out. They know any hopes of a bowl game rests on winning this weekend so they'll pull out all the stops on the Rebels. They also have a bad taste in their mouth from last year where they out gained the Rebels 4-1 but lost thanks to turnovers.
Vandy's best playermaker is junior wide receiver Earl Bennett. He's one of the best wide receivers in the country and makes play after play for the Commodore offense. Expect him to get his share.
The Defensive player for the Dores is defensive lineman Curtis Gatewood. He's struggling a little this year compared to last. Expect him to snap out of it at some point. The Rebels have to keep him out of the backfield if they want to get the offense on track.
Vandy's major weakness is on defense. Especially the interior defensive line. They have a major problem stopping the running game which is why Bama rolled on them last weekend. Teams with strong running games should be able to control the clock. The key to the Rebels this weekend will be getting the Predator involved early and setting the tempo of the game. If the offensive line takes control and the Rebels get off and running on the Dores then they'll have a hard time catching up. They should be able to control the clock with a lead if the Predator is running well.
1) The Rebels are still very vulnerable to spread offenses. They are going to give up a lot of passing yards all year even against traditional defenses and average offenses as teams exploit the lack of speed and depth in the linebacker corps.
2) Defense is under performing all around and still has trouble getting pressure on the opposing quarterback. Something I really expected John Thompson to make us better at.
3) Seth Adams is a good quarterback and will keep us in games. Combined with a solid offensive line and the Predator the Rebels should have a decent offense.
1) Vandy is very soft up the middle on defense and will give up a lot of rushing yards a game. The will also have trouble running up the middle because they are soft on the middle of their offensive line as well.
2) A team (such as Ole Miss) with a solid running back and offensive line should be able to run and control the game on their defense.
3) Neither of the two quarterbacks are going to singlehandedly keep Vandy in a game. Best offensive player by far is Earl Bennett.
4) Vandy looks like they have reverted back to pre-Cutler Vandy and did not take advantage of his time there.
1) Offense is horrible. Line, running backs, and quarterback are equally quilty.
2) Defense is impressive. Especially the line.
3) They will be primed for another upset or two this season. Will be a major rebuilding year on the Plains. Should loose 4 games or more.
4) Look for Bama to break the streak. (Much to the dismay of our friendly Canadian.)
1) Has a much better offense than anybody expected. Scored 40 on a top twenty, albeit not strong defensively, Hawaii team.
2) Could easily upset someone this season. Slight warning for the Rebels.
1) With solid coaching Bama looks like they should rebound this year and have a solid season.
2) Have a great offensive line and very good running game. Mississippian Terry Grant is one of the better running backs in the SEC.
The Predator had another great day running the ball thanks the the solid blocking of the offensive line that accumulated 245 rushing yard and only allowed one sack. The Predator gained 228 of those rushing yards and scored a touchdown. He did however have a costly fumble in the red zone that turned the game in Missouri's favor.
However the offense simply couldn't keep up with Missouri. We had the best offensive day in a while but Missouri has one of the best offenses in the country. What killed the Rebels in the first half was dropped passes when Missouri was loading the line to shut down the Predator. If the receivers could have sustained some drives in the first half like they did the second the Rebels might have been able to stay in it instead of getting behind an unsurmountable 28 points. This will only get to be a bigger problem against the better defenses in the SEC. One receiver is going to have to step up if this team is going to win the big games.
Of course a lot of the "comeback" has to be taken with a grain of salt. The reason the Rebels were able to come back some on Missouri in the second half was the Missouri's defense is horrendous and they lack a power running game. Missouri's offense scores a lot of points and scores them fast. When they get up big they have to back off a bit because they don't won't to necessarily run the score up and they don't want to give up the big interception that gets the other team back in the game. They then don't have the running game to grind the clock out and instead give the other team a lot of opportunities to come back. It's why they let Illinois, coached by the original Ron Zook, come back on them late just a week ago. They give the opposing team as much short distance routes as they want in the hopes that they run the clock out themselves.
Maybe this would be a good time to still have a few of the twelve linebackers* who have left the team during Ogerzook's three year career. A few including will get the face the Rebels this year such as Marquis McBeath who's starting for Louisiana Tech.
*(Quentin Taylor, Wallace Bates, Dustin Fortson, Jabarre Mitchell, Dontae Reed, Rogers Loche, Garry Pack, Retario Brown, Marquis McBeath, LeRon King, Rory Johnson and Robert Russell.)
Friday, September 7, 2007
Now the Rebels return home and we find out if they are tough enough to stop a strong offense and come up with a victory they are expected to loose.
However I don't see it happening. The Picks:
Missou -6 over the Rebs
Vandy +3 over Bama
South Florida +7 over Auburn
Florida -26 over Troy
Georgia -5 over South Carolina
Kentucky -13 over Kent State
Tennessee -11 over USM
Mississippi State -6 over Tulane
Virgina Tech +12.5 over LSU
Similarly to last weeks batch of Tigers, Memphis, the Missouri Tigers have some good offensive players and run a very good spread offense. On the other hand their defense is lacking and capable of giving up a lot of points.
Their defense is headlined by safety Cornelius "Pig" Brown who had a huge 100 yard touchdown return off a fumble as part of collecting three turnovers against Illinois.
The big weakness for the Tigers is pass defense. They gave up 316 yards passing overall to Illinois. Much of it came from the back up quarterback. However they only gave up 119 rushing. If Seth Adams has a good day early and the Rebels can keep up with the Tigers they can win. Its a tall order, but Seth will be the key to this game. He won't necessarily have to keep up with Chase Daniel but he has to keep the Rebels in the game. If he does and the defense makes a few stops the Rebels will stay in it till the end. If he doesn't then the Tigers will get up big early and the Rebels don't have the offense to come back with. Especially once they get one dimensional in catch up mode. If that happens, its as Yogi Berra says, "deja vu all over again."
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
Adams did that. He put up solid number going 19 of 30 for 63% with 197 yards 1TD and most importantly no interceptions. Hankins on the other hand had 4 interceptions. A couple of his interceptions were in the red zone. In a game where one made field goal is the difference in a win a red zone interception can literally be the game. Once less turnover by Memphis and they probably win. So having no turnovers turned out to be a huge stat for Seth. He also made some impressive throws in the first half and the ability to move the chain with a precision short yardage attack. What remains to be seen is what he will do with a real SEC defense. Which he won't get to see until Florida.
Ashley Palmer also had a great day for the Rebels in his debut. He finished with 12 tackles and an interception. Was flying all over the field making a lot of plays. Clearly the linebacker that was the most prepared for Memphis's attack and made the most plays. Looks like he'll be a great player. Marcus Tillman and Greg Hardy, especially, had great days for the Rebel defense. Hardy caught the Rebels lone offensive touchdown and had a sack and 11 tackles.
The Special teams also came up with a big score on one of the worst looking punt attempts I've ever seen. Seriously Memphis its usually good to keep a few people in to block.
The game ball however has to go to Dustin Mouzon. As previously mention the difference in this game was turnovers. And the Rebels got then when they had to have them. Mouzon especially was huge as he got two interceptions and a fumble recovery on the way to SEC defensive player of the week honors. The most critical of his interceptions was the one he caught as Memphis was going into score and cut the lead in half right before halftime. Instead Mouzon comes up big as he catches and races 99 yards for a touchdown. If he gets caught or doesn't make that interception we might be looking at a different outcome in this game. Huge game for Mouzon that he
The Running game was no where to be found. The Predator managed to chalk up 79 rushing yards mostly in the first half. When the team had the big lead and needed to burn up the clock by running the ball the running game disappeared. Memphis is one of the worst defenses the Rebels will face this year. The running game was supposed to be one of the Rebels strenghts this year with the Predator and 4 out of 5 offensive linemen returning. If the Rebels can't get a better showing out of the running game than that than the offense is in even worse shape this year and looking at another ugly season.
The Defense also pulled a disappearing act in the second half. The linebacker core minus Ashley Palmer had several times where the went for big hits and came up with misses. After holding Memphis scoreless in the first half they made the adjustments to come out in the second half and drive at will against the Rebels. The Rebels could not come up with the big stop they needed and thankfully Memphis ran out of time at the end.
Failing to counter the other team's halftime adjustments continues to be a problem for the Rebels.
Luck. Quite frankly luck hasn't worked with the Rebels lately. Last year it was Vandy. So far this year Memphis. It seems like the Rebels keep having to use up all their lucky breaks just to beat bad teams instead of using it like Appalachian State to pull off a signature upset.
Interesting new weekly link. The Coaches Hot Seat Watch.
Ogerzook hot seat watch: Down to 17. (From 5 last week.)