Friday, November 21, 2008

Weekly Theme Music

Follow Phil Rebels. Follow Phil to victory!

Ole Miss within 5 of LSU
Mississippi State over Arkansas
Tennessee over Vanderbilt
Florida will destroy the Citadel by amounts Vegas won't give odds on.

LSU Preview

The Rebels take to Red Stick this weekend and its an interesting battle of two pretty even teams statistically. Both teams have numerous play makers on both sides of the ball. The winner finishes second in the SEC west and goes to the better and probably New Years Day bowl. Lot's riding on it.

The Rebels are fourth in total offense in the SEC. The Tigers are third. Ole Miss is 7th in scoring defense and 11th in total defense. LSU is 8th in total defense and 11th in scoring defense. Ole Miss is 3rd in rushing offense to LSU's 4th. LSU is 4th in passing offense with 18 TDS. Ole Miss is 6th with 17 TDs. They are 10th and 12th in Red Zone defense. LSU is 10th in pass defense and Ole Miss is 12th. They are 7th and 8th in turnover margin. LSU has thrown 16 interceptions; Ole Miss has thrown 13.

If you review those statistics it shows what we already know about their respective squads. Both run the ball well and have solid backs. LSU rotates their backs well also with both Charles Scott, Trindon Holliday, and Keiland Williams all getting plenty of carries. Both squads have solid defensive lineman that put up a lot of pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Tyson Jackson and Rahem Alem are two of the top for tackles for a loss in the SEC. Both teams have given up a lot of points by their secondary. Both quarterbacks have thrown for touchdowns and yards but more importantly a lot of interceptions. Both have had complete meltdown games where they threw four picks that cost their team the game. (versus Bama for Jarrett Lee; Vandy for Snead.)

To oversimplfy it, which quarterback plays within himself and avoids the multiple turnovers will give his running game and defense a great chance to win. In a game of this type with solid rushing attacks shorting the clock you can't give away short fields. Both defenses will load the line to stop these attacks as well. Whichever quarterback steps up and makes the defense play off will go along way towards limiting those turnovers.

LA Monroe Recap

The Rebels haven't dominated a team to this extent in my life time. For a week there is no bad or ugly. If you are disappointed by the lack of bad and ugly send your complaint to the crazy Canadian.

Big story of the day was the Rebels rushing for 350 yards. Cordera Eason topped the century mark for the second straight week and is now in the top ten in yardage in the SEC. He's averaging an impressive 5.0 yards per carry on the season for 545 yards. If he got the carries that the Predator got last year he'd easily have a 1000 yards already this year. Against La Monroe he average 7.6 yards per carry for 106 yards and a touchdown. McCluster in his new role as the complementary speed back added 78 yards and a touchdown. Brandon Bolden chipped in 41 yards on 4.9 yards per carry. Enrique still pulls up the rear with only 2.9 yards per carry but did score a touchdown and appears to be the main short yardage and goal line back. This running back stable is why the Rebels are in the top 3 in rushing in the SEC and only one back is even in the top 10.

The Rebels only threw for 170 yards on six completions but when you rush for 350 that's fine. Burnell Mike Wallace set the record for the longest reception in Ole Miss history with an 88 yard scamper that somehow failed to get into the endzone. Snead still only completed 50% of his passes (6 of 12) but it was a solid day considering half of his completions were touchdowns. Burnell Mike Wallace, Derrick Davis, and Gerald Harris all caught touchdowns. Derrick Davis is becoming a weapon as the goal line blocking back that slips open for the touchdown two weeks in a row. Gerald's went 22 yards and caught many by surprise since it didn't seem the tightend was eligible during the Orgeron years. Harris is developing into a solid threat in the passing game and if his blocking can improve he'll be a great weapon next season.

The Defense stepped up huge as well. Very impressive shut out especially considering they third string was in at one point. Cassius Vaughn stepped up with a pick late to preserve the win. Greg Hardy had the other interception. Hardy got a sack as well and it looks like he's working his way back and should play more against LSU. Chris Bowers lead all tacklers. 24 different Rebels were credited with tackles including guys like Jeremy Parnell and freshman Derrick Herman and Justin Smith. Great game for Tyrone Nix's crew.

You know the offensive line is doing there job when you rush for 350 yards on the day, score 59 points and the quarterback isn't sacked once. The Rebel offensive line has gotten better and better all year and at this point are leading a rushing attack that is just unstoppable. The Rebels are running for 4.9 yards per carry on the season and to this point have 1879 rushing yards on the year. 2000 rushing yards is attainable which would be incredible.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Weekly Theme Music

The Rebels have an off day so Phil's on vacation for a week. Look for him to return. But in the mean time enjoy your travels during the open week.


Alabama by more than 3 over LSU
Florida by more than 25 over Vanderbilt
South Carolina by more than 10 over Arkansas
Wyoming to cover Tennessee's 25
Georgia by more than 11.5 over Kentucky

Auburn Recap

Great week for the Rebels so there should be little to complain about to the Irish Canadian other than the brevity of this recap. Not a lot to complain about, especially not a lot that's not the same I call out ever week.

Lot of good to go around. Rebels got there first back to back SEC wins since Cut was the coach. First 5 win season since Eli helmed the team. The Rebels actually have a reasonable chance to make it to a B word. Now all discussion of such must be halted.

The Rebels showed a great running attack that keeps the ball in their control and away from the opponents. 233 rushing yards as a team is stellar. Cordera goes for over a hundred for the first time this year to lead the way and show that he's a premier back in this league. Shame he couldn't carry it more last year. Dexter added 88 rushing yards. Most of his came on some huge carries late in the game leading to the Rebels last touchdown drive that put the game out of reach. Bolden chipped in with 34 yards. Derrek Davis even joined in scoring his first career touchdown. Great day by the offensive line as well opening up running lanes all day.

The defense was also stellar playing bend but don't break football. They gave up 394 total yards but only seven points. Great performance. Three interceptions by Kendrick Lewis, Marshay Green, and Cassius Vaughn helped seal the win and keep Auburn from scoring more.

The story is the defensive line though. Great performances by all in holding Auburn's rushing attack to 75 yards. Lawon Scott, Peria Jerry, Marcus Tillman, and Emmanuel Stephens were all credited with tackles. They also got into the backfield and harassed Kodi Burns. The Rebels had nine total tackles for a loss. Just great performances all around.

Kentrell Lockett had his big day. After already getting the block in the Florida game he stepped up even bigger with the same level play over an entire game. He had seven total tackles with 2.5 for a loss and had his way with the Auburn offensive line.

Snead was off again only completing half of his passes for 140 yards. When the Rebels run for over 200 yards the passing should come a lot easier than that. Of course its like Rick Cleveland said. If the receivers were 12 feet tall he would have thrown for 300 yards.

The secondary redeemed themselves with three interceptions and keeping Auburn out of the endzone. However they still gave up 319 yards passing by far Kodi Burn's career high. That doesn't bode well against teams with good passing games. Luckily the Rebels remaining schedule features predominate rushing teams.

The personal fouls were also a problem and killed numerous drives. It cost the Rebels at least three points by driving them out of easy field goal range. Luckily it wasn't a game changer. They just don't need to continue doing it and let teams back in ball games.

I hate to pull a Chuck Rounsaville but after sitting at 5-4 with a win over Auburn there's not a lot of ugly unless you go back and think about the horrible horrible Vanderbilt loss. Its now obvious how terrible they were and that could be the game that keeps the Rebels from bowling at all or from a much better game. Just a great day when Coach Vaught finally got his due with a statute to commemorate everything he did for the university.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Weekly Theme Music

Hopefully the Rebels will get to enjoy another day in victory paradise with Phil Sunday.

The Auburn preview? They can run the ball well with Tate and Lester but they can't throw the ball so the offense stinks and they've fired their coordinator. The defense is solid. So don't let Kodi Burns look like a really qb and the Rebels will be okay.

Arkansas State to cover Alabama's 23
Florida by more than five over Georgia
Tulsa by more than 6.5 over Arkansas
Kentucky to cover MSU's 3
Ole Miss by more than five over Auburn
Tulane to cover LSU's 25
South Carolina by more than 6.5 over Tennessee

Arkansas Recap

Its been a really busy week here defending the intergalactic smugglers and such so I'm apologizing in advance for basically mailing this recap in. Send your complaints to some dude in Canada.

Lot of good when you can go to an SEC away game and bring home a win regardless of the competition. Throw in how bad Arkansas's hillbilly fans hate the Fox and you knew the Rebels were getting the Hog's best game of the year. So a lot of good to go around.

Cordera Eason had a strong day running for 81 yards. A lot of the credit has to go to the offensive line though. They were blowing the Hog defenders three and four yards back by the forth quarter. It made the gains look shorter at first because it through you off where the line of scrimmage was. I loved the move to Bradley Sowell in for an unbalanced line. He looked good and was credited with six or more take down blocks. Sounds like a good new wrinkle for the offense. Burnell Mike Wallace finally stepped up and had his first big receiving day going for more than a hundred yards and his first touchdown.

As good a day as Eason had the award has to go to Peria Jerry. The reigning SEC lineman of the week absolutely dominated Arkansas's line. They couldn't stop him and had to resort to holding. He blew up running plays and disrupted passing plays.

The Rebel passing game struggled at times with wide open guys failing to get thrown to. The defense struggled against the option and that is just basic blown assignments. That's not getting beat by a better team. Can't let that continue or Auburn and LSU will eat it up.


The secondary is getting torched again and almost lost a nine point lead in under a minute and nearly blew a 20-7 lead with four minutes to go. It was probably their worst game as they were actually in position but got a case of the Yips. They would jump two strides to early or not a all. The ball would go through their hands. Its got to get fixed or it will cost us a game after you see non passing teams like Auburn or State suddenly look like Texas Tech.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Rebels have been down on their luck again. The Rebels need to turn their offense on again. Play like they did against Memphis and throw up some points. Follow Phil into the endzone.

Ole Miss by more than 4 over Arkansas
Alabama by more than 5.5 over Tennessee
Middle Tennessee to cover State's 11.5
Kentucky to cover Florida's 23
Duke to cover Vandy's 10
Georgia to cover LSU's 2.5

Arkansas Preview

The Nutt bowl is upon us. (The Wookies Are Taking Out Hog Nation)

Arkansas has one great option. Nutt knew runningbacks and he left Patrino another good one with Micheal Smith. He's leading the conference with 791 yards rushing. He also got a concussion against Kentucky last week so his playing time is in question. The Rebels have been good all season at stopping the run. They need to continue to do it against the top runner in the conference.


I could give you statistics about Casey Dick and his 9 interceptions or how they are dead last in the conference in total defense. But the real issue is Houston Nutt. Everyone knows it. The fans hate him and want it bad. Does that make Arkansas play beyond their means or tight and nervous? Who knows. The Rebels just need to show up and play there game and not commit turnovers. If they do that and if Arkansas plays their normal game it should take care of itself.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Mid Week Theme Music


Just as they thought things were going great on the Plains Saban gets Bama ranked number 2, Auburn can't play offense fires a coordinator and loses to Vandy and Arkansas. That's All.

West Virginia by more than 3 over Auburn

Alabama Recap

Sorry its taken so long this week. Just a devastating loss to Bama. To crawl back into it at the end only to throw it away. Anyway send your tardiness complaints to the Irish Canadian.

Not a lot of great things to say about the offense. For every great pass an interception. For every great play a turnover. For every big run they have numerous no gains and the failure to convert 3rd or 4th and inches is just embarrassing now. The Rebels do have some guys making consistent big plays though.

Shay Hodge is becoming the stud receiver the team needs. He chipped in another 66 yards and a touchdown against the Tide showing his great ability to bring the ball down in traffic. He's fourth in the SEC in receiving yards and tied for first in receiving touchdowns. That's a solid season.

On defense the big positive to come out of the game is that the linebacker play is finally improving. Allen Walker is stepping up and making plays and finished with 7 tackles. Ashlee Palmer is playing more like he did last year and had 8 tackles. Plus he's one of the better linebackers at timing his blitzes well. Peria Jerry played like a man possessed and finished with an impressive 7 tackles, a forced fumble and a sack. Ted Laurent also played well.

You know one of the biggest things I don't talk about any more? Special teams. Under the gar fisherman they were abysmal. Probably the worst special teams in the BCS conferences and lost the Rebels numerous games. Credit must go to Coach Shibest who has taken those same players and turned them into a solid group. Gone are the days of squib kicking every kickoff and twenty yard punts. Justin Sparks is doing a great job on kickoff's of angling the kick towards a sideline and deep to limit returns. Rob Park is getting great hangtime and distance this year. Against Bama he was a weapon and averaged 45+ yards a punt. That's solid. He's gone against a fearsome group of return men in Florida's James, Vanderbilt's Moore and now Bama's Arenas but he's managed to hold all in check.


Speaking of Special Teams the Rebels ran a perfect fake field goal that was the driving force that got them back in the game. Scoring his much belated first touchdown was Jason Cook who had a monster of a game. Enrique Davis's 67 yard run was the result of his great block. He made other big blocks and really set the tone that the Rebels were going to be in this physical game.


The offense completely struggled in the first half. Other than Enrique's big run there wasn't much to it. And he also got chased down from behind despite being way ahead of all defenders. Even the Predator might have scored on that one. Enrique was the leading rusher on the day but didn't do much other than that run. He carried the ball eleven times. On the other ten carries he ran for twelve yards or a 1.2 carry average. This was most apparent during the drive where the Rebels ran on both 3rd and inches and 4th and inches and Enrique was stopped at the line both times. Absolutely no excuse not to convert there. Part was bad play calling and part was the line and Davis not doing what they had to be able to do. No excuse not to get one yard ever. I don't understand why when Eason and Bolden have been the far more productive backs all season they combine for less carries than Enrique who's running at a 1.2 yards per carry clip. And after they stopped you the first time why run the same play? Try to play action or naked boot. You know Bama was expecting the same run up the middle and either would have been open.

And there were other play calls that left a lot to be desired against Bama. I don't know who is in charge of the different play calls. The McCluster pass on 3rd and 22 was just stupid. Did you really think they were going to load the line on 3rd and 22? They seemed overly predictable in the first half but got better at mixing it up in the third by actually passing on first down some. I still don't understand when Bama or anyone else is blitzing why they do not run screens and draws. Especially a quarterback draw.

Which brings me to another point. Snead is even more like Schaefer than originally thought. He's also more effective when he can run the ball and can keep defenses on their heels worried about the run. I don't understand why he's not getting designed runs on a regular basis. He's a tough SOB as he showed tackling a guy. He ran a lot in high school and can take it. Its not worth worrying over the potential injury. It probably open up some more coverages for him as well if linebackers were worried he was about to run the ball. He had some great runs to keep the final drive alive but when it came down to it and he had to pass for a first for some reason he threw down field really way off towards the deep and well covered receiver missing in the words of Kent Austin "wide open" receiver running a drag route for a first down.

And the other half of the turnover twins had a rough day as well. Dexter made his usually big plays with his usual even more devastating turnovers. The fumble this time was manageable since Bama turned it right back. It was just odd since he wasn't even hit as hard this time it just went flying away while he was diving up in the air. The interception was awful since it came right after one of Snead's and gave Bama great field position on successive drives. As mention before it was terrible as well because the play call was terrible considering no one thought he was going to run for 22 yards on 3rd down. The execution was equally bad as he didn't look like he could see over the line or had the upper body strength to throw it 23 yards directly so he just sort of heaved it up in the air. I think its time Nutt readdresses the wildcat formation and either quits running it or lets a different player manage it. Dexter's good as a slot back but not running an offense. For it to work they have to have someone deep that makes the defenders actually defend the pass some what.

For the second straight game pass defense was essentially the difference in the game. Tyrone Nix actually did a good job of clamping down on Bama and making them work for any running yards and held them scoreless in the second half. But the two biggest offensive plays for Bama were two long passes from John Parker Wilson. These two quick and easy scores were Bama's big points. Other than that they got a rushing touchdown from a yard out and a 41 yard field goal on a short field after an interception. The offense faltered in the first keeping the defense on the field most of the first half but for the most part the defense held their own other than those two huge plays.

On both Marshay Green got beat bad. On the second he actually had safety help from Kendrick Lewis who could have made the play and it took a perfect pass but Marshay was still beat. On the other he just wiffed on his bump part of his bump and run coverage and the defender ran right past him. I don't mean to signal Marshay out because he's a great athlete and a solid punt returner. He made great plays at receiver last year and I have no doubt that he could make a solid defender. But it looks a little rushed right now. And what doesn't make any sense is why last years best coverage guy never plays. Dustin Mouzon doesn't even get back up duty anymore. I'm sure the coaches no more than I do but it doesn't make any sense why they wouldn't use him at all.

The Curse lives on thanks to Miami beating Duke therefore the Rebels lost so as not to achieve a greater record than the Blue Devils. The Blue Devils go to Nashville this week. Lets hope they do what the Rebels couldn't do and beat Vandy.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Weekly Theme Music

The Rebels are against all the odds today. But if there is a man that make you look at him and overcome these odds its Mayan god Phil Collins.

Unless Phil Collins is playing in Hardy's iPod I've got to take Bama by more than 13.5 over the Rebels.
Mississippi State to cover Tennessee's 8.5
Georgia by more than 15 over Vandy
South Carolina to cover LSU's 3.5 points
Kentucky by more than 11.5 over Arkansas.

Alabama Preview

(Try thundering Now Tide!)

The Rebs roll down to the number two team in the country this week. The Fox is 5-9 against top five teams in his career. No doubt it'll be a tough battle for the Rebels since there are match ups that favor Bama all over the field.

John Parker Wilson is putting up a solid season. He doesn't throw for a ton of yards but that's because he doesn't have to. All Saban asks of him is not to turn the ball over. Which with 2 interceptions he's doing a good job of that this year. Glen Coffee is a stud running back who is currently leading the conference right now with 708 yards. He's got a stable of backups behind him as well in former Mississippi Player of the Year Terry Grant and Mark Ingram. The biggest reason they are doing so well on offense is a dominate offensive line. Andre Smith is the best run blocker in the conference and absolutely mauls people. He's like watching Shawn Andrews in his senior year. Bama can aways get some running yards going to the left side. They also have one of the SEC's better centers in Antoine Caldwell.
They aren't bad on defense either. They are one of the few college teams to run a 3-4 defense. They can because of nose tackle Terrence Cody and his 6'5" 370 pound run stopping frame. He's a beast and frees up the linebackers to roam. Bobby Greenwood and Brandon Deadrick are solid as well.
One of the better linebackers in the SEC, Rolando McClain leads their defense. His back up is Charlie Higgenbotham and with a name like that you know he's disruptive. They also bring in a solid secondary lead by Javier Arenas at cornerback and safety and Oxford native Justin Woodall who's second in the SEC in interceptions.

There is a reason they are number two right now.

John Parker Wilson doesn't handle pressure well but he hasn't faced much this year thanks to a stellar offensive line. But he also hasn't faced a defensive front four like the Rebels have when everyone is healthy. Everyone remembers last year when Greg Hardy had three sacks and 4.5 tackles for a loss and basically scared John Parker Wilson into the fetal position. The Rebel's have to get the Freak Hardy again and get John Parker Wilson turning the ball over out of fear. If they can get 5 turnovers or more they have a shot.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Since its a Bye Week the Rebels can't lose. So I'm slightly less depressed. I do remember when I was in college and the Rebels were good.

I've decided only one man can pull the Rebels through to a winning season now.

So lets get some Phil Collins up in this bitch.

Georgia by more than 14 over Tennessee
Florida by more than 4 over LSU
Arkansas to cover Auburn's 18 points.
Mississippi State to cover Vanderbilt's one point. Screw that State for the win straight up. Kentucky over South Carolina.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Sports Wookie Will Gladly Conduct the Interview

University of Tennessee starting runningback Arian Foster, who is on the verge of becoming UT's all time leading rusher, has stated he will only take interviews now conducted in the Pterodactyl language.

"Veeeeek! Veeeeek! Veeeeek!" Foster shrieked."

If he could adjust to the Shyriiwook language the Sports Wookie would gladly conduct the interview.

South Carolina Recap

Another let down loss for the Rebels. I guess I can't really complain because we all knew it was going to happen. At least now our flukes aren't playing a team close we actually pull a Sly Croom once a year amazing upset. Maybe we should all join the Irish Historian in Canada where you can't be subjected to the amazing frustration that is Ole Miss football. It'd at least be easier to send the complaints there.

Eason and Bolden scored touch downs again. Eason's proving to be a very solid player but Bolden looks like he could be truly special. Next year he will more than likely become the star of the offense. That's about it for the good.


Once again the Rebels played well enough to win a game. They were within 40 yards of matching South Carolina's out put. They were even up at one point 14-3. But they just couldn't hold on. One of the biggest culprits was the defensive secondary and the linebackers especially. The Linebackers just can not cover the intermediate routes. Once again a random middling quarterback gets player of the week honors just by facing the Rebel secondary. I've praised Tyrone Nix for most of the season because I think he's getting about as much out of the personnel as he can right now. But he didn't call his best game as the pressure never seemed to get there. His blitz scheme wasn't nearly as effective as it was in previous outings. Now some of the catches by the gamecock receivers were the miracle catches that just happen sometime. But the defense gave up too many big passing plays and could not get off the field on third and long.

The offense didn't help the defense much either. After generating nearly half of their total offensive yards in the first two drives the offense disappeared for the entire third quarter. The Rebels had one offensive drive in the third of which nearly the entire drive was one long Dexter McCluster run. After that the defense was spent and couldn't stop South Carolina. Still the defense held on the final South Carolina drive and got the offense the ball back down one score with a minute and a half to go. Or thirty seconds more than Wake needed to drive the field.

But the true story of the game was the turnovers. South Carolina made one and the Rebels failed to capitalize on it. Ole Miss had three turnovers. South Carolina capitalized on all but the final one since that was Snead interception to end the game.

It seems like for every great play like this.
The Rebels throw out another one of these.
And of course the human turnover machine contributed with his previously mentioned interception and his second quarter fumble.
That South Carolina returned for a touchdown.
That return gave the gamecocks the lead and Nutt said it looked like the team never got over it. They had a look like they just lost the game. They even scored again and lead at half 21-17 but Nutt said the players acted as if they were down at half again. They came out like a defeated team in the third quarter.

I am now firmly convinced that we are suffering through the Curse of Cut. We(read Pete Boone) stupidly fired the coach with the best first seven year record in program history for a no experienced loony defensive line coach. This made the football gods angry.

Every year away from this decision looks worse and worse. Yes Cut had his flaws. And he was in poor health. But you can't say the program is in better shape now than if he had remained coach. It will take Nutt a couple of years to get back to Cut's mediocrity. Hopefully one day we'll be a little bit better or luck into a Western Division Championship.

But I've decided the football gods will not let this happen till Cut gets to a bowl game first. Luckily he's turning around the worst BCS league team faster than you'd expect. So far they've already beaten Navy by ten points (same Navy that beat Ole Miss tormentor Wake Forest) and they beat Virginia by 31-3. You may remember that former number one team in the Country was widely praised for its unstoppable offense after beating Virginia by a similar margin.

So far Duke sits at 3-2. Here's there remaining schedule to get to six wins. I will keep a running tab on the Curse of Cut until it is broken.

@ Vandy
@ Wake Forest
N.C. State
@ Clemson
@ Va Tech

Pull for the Blue Devils. It will only anger the sports gods more if you pull against Cut for whatever grudge you hold.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Status of the SEC

We're half way through the season after another 3 games. Time to assess the conference. I think the SEC is way down this year and only one team deserves to be in the top 10. The winner of the SEC will probably have 2 losses or more. Maybe three or four in the top 25.

2) Louisiana State
3) Georgia
4) Florida
5) Kentucky
6) Vandy
7) South Carolina
8) Auburn
9) Ole Miss
10) Mississippi State
11) Tennessee
12) Arkansas

Friday, October 3, 2008

Weekly Theme Music

Here's to a good score when the Rebels call Elvis on the Jumbotron.


Alabama by less than 16 over Kentucky
Florida by more than 25 over a humiliated Arkansas
Ole Miss and South Carolina within a point of one another
Auburn to beat Vandy with neither team scoring the full four point spread so a cover I guess
Northern Illinois within 16 of Tennessee

South Carolina Preview

(Eat Wookie Fists Spurrier)

The Ole Ball Coach is coming back to Oxford for the first time in years.


The Gamecocks have the top statistical defense in the SEC this year. They brought in stellar former Mississippi State defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson who has them running a 4-2-5. I'm not a fan of the 4-2-5 because I remember Eric Oliver trying to defend deep post routes but it seems to work better for South Carolina.

That probably has to do with the personnel. Their two linebackers both weigh in the 260-270 pound range and stop the run well. Eric Norwood is a great pass rusher and played end last year. Jasper Brinkley is the Defensive MVP and was the reason USC started 6-1. He got hurt and the rushing defense fell apart with Carolina loosing their last 5 games. They also have two great defensive backs in Captain Munneryln and Emmanuel Cook. Nutt praised all four of these players before the game.

They have the best tightend in the SEC this year in Jared Cook. Jared is actually Ole Miss fullback Jason Cook's younger brother. If Orgeron had recruited him at all he'd be at Ole Miss now. But Ed hated tightends and refused to sign one that stayed in the program over three years of his horrible tenure.


The Offensive line is considered the weak point. They have trouble in protection and don't run block particularly well either. They've also struggled in the passing game with Chris Smelly this year since he doesn't have a very strong arm. Expect to see a guy Orgeron loves to compliment even though he won't compliment any of the guys he recruited to Ole Miss, Stephen Garcia, get a lot of playing time. He supposedly doesn't manage the game well but has a great arm.

The Rebels should be able to get a strong rush on this group and disrupt their offense. I'd actually expect a low scoring game. They have to minimize the turnovers to keep from giving up easy field position and easy points. South Carolina will play to stop the run and this is where their defense especially excels at. It will open up the quick hitches and slant patterns if Snead can audible off and hit the receivers. If he has a good day the Rebels will as well if. If the Rebels get the same Snead they got against Vanderbilt the results will be about the same as the were against Vanderbilt.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Florida Recap

After the biggest win for the Rebels since Eli's senior year its hard not to be a little more excited for the future. Maybe you won't have to email complaints the the Raging Irish Canadian this week.

The offense hit the big play when they had two. Jevan Snead's long pass to Shay Hodge was perfect. Florida was loading up on the line to stop the run and limit the underneath routes. Shay got wide open with the whole field to run and made them pay. Snead did what they didn't think he could do and survived the blitz and made the completion.

Dexter also had numerous big runs out to the wildcat formation. Many of them sustained drives that kept the defense off the field. None were bigger than his touchdown run to put the Rebels on top in the second half. Cordera also had another good day and made a great catch on a swing pass and took it to the house showing stellar elusiveness not to go out of bounds. The offense has an amazing stable of weapons in the receiver and running back positions.

The big story of the day thought was how big the defense stepped up. They are performing better and better every week the more they get comfortable in Tyrone Nix's system. They are averaging nine points allowed a game less than at this point last year. The Rebels finally have a great defensive coordinator after so many years in the wilderness of the Thompson, Orgeron, Dunn, Kaufman, and Lindsey eras. Its so nice to see. He gets the most out of his players. He knows their weaknesses and schemes around it. The d-line stops the run and the backs keep everything in front of them to stop the big play. He also creates effective blitzes which is just a crazy thought. The Rebels are currently leading the SEC in tackles for a loss.

Lots of great individual efforts to go around as well. Tony Fein was the linebacker to step up and lead the defense. He had 10 tackles and a lot of great hits. I would expect to see him play more and more as the season progresses. Jamarca Sandford obviously had another great week and lead the team in tackles again with 11 on his way to SEC defensive player of the week.

Ted Laurent had six huge tackles, stopped the middle and Tebow's running and one huge sack. A year after running for 166 yards the Rebels held him to 7 on 15 carries. Greg Hardy returned to being a force in the SEC with two sacks. Peria had three big tackles. Powe added a tackle for a loss and helped stuff the middle. Chris Bowers even added two tackles. It all culminated when they stuffed Tebow's one yard forth and one play. The term "4th and one" has a much better meaning now in the Ole Miss Lexicon.

The play of the day had to be Kentrell Lockett's PAT block. I turned out to be the scoring difference. Urban Meyer cried about how it was illegal. It wasn't. He didn't boost or hurdle. Florida was lazy and Lockett took advantage. He added a few big tackles and was in on a lot of the pressure that Tebow was under.

Snead is still struggling and suffered through another rough statistical day. Also threw a few more passes that went to nobody. Wouldn't be as big of a deal if he hadn't had such bad games in the last two. He only completed 9 passes which is in line with my suggestions from last week. Run the ball and hit the big play when its available which he did on the 83 yard touchdown to Shay Hodge. The Wildcat helped break it up so that he wouldn't have long periods being off.

Snead did make some big plays when he had to. The naked boot was a great run and he continues to show that he's a great running quarterback that's elusive in the pocket. He has the chance to be really good. For now if the team can limit his need to win the game and just let him manage it they can win some more big games. The majority of qb's in the rest of the league don't look ready to do that.

After a win this big there is not a lot you could call ugly. Yeah the replay refs are still terrible and reversed a call for a change. This time to get it wrong.

The biggest issue this week is avoiding the let down and the cover jinx. The Rebels have to come out hungry against South Carolina and prove this wasn't a fluke. If they do we could be vacationing in either exotic Shreveport, Memphis, or Birmingham. Better call your travel agent today!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Weekly Theme Music

Its depressing how far the Ole Miss program is away from Florida.


Ole Miss to cover Florida's 23. Moral Victory time baby!
Alabama to cover Georgia's 6.5
Kentucky by more than 22 over Western Kentucky
Texas by more than 27.5 over Arkansas
South Carolina by less than 24.5 over UAB
Mississippi State to cover LSU's 24
Tennessee to cover Auburn's 6.5

Florida Preview

If you need a big preview for Florida you don't watch a lot of College football.
(There's Just So Many Of Them)


When discussing Florida you always have to start with Tim Tebow. While opinions vary as to what kind of pro prospect he'll be you have to respect anyone that won the Heisman trophy. Especially the first one to win it as a sophomore. And especially if his career rushing high came in the game he ran all over you the year before. I don't think he'll make a great pro qb but he's a great athlete, runs hard and completes the short passes with a lot of zip. Florida's stellar speed and athleticism at the wide out spots takes care of the rest. The offense relies on Tebow to get them the ball in space and they make plays. It inflates his passing statistics but it doesn't inflate how deadly the offense is. If the defense struggles to keep them close they will break containment for huge chunks of yardage.

On defense they have one of the best Linebackers in the country in Brandon Spikes. They also have two big players in the secondary in Major Wright and Joe Haden.

Florida's two biggest strengths this year are ball control and special teams. The defense has played exceptionally well and look improved over last year. Brandon James is probably the best return man in college football and could be as dangerous as Devin Hester. Big words but he backs it up. The get tons of yards in the return games to give them easy drives. James took two returns in for touchdowns against Tennessee alone which in a twenty point game that a huge factor. The Rebels can not turn the ball over or make special teams mistakes and expect to win. Ball security has never been more important.

Florida doesn't have a ton of weaknesses. They rely on the quarterback to get tough runs to much and haven't managed to develop a consistent running game in Meyer's tenure. Granted he's won a national championship so its obviously not that big of a flaw. The defensive line is not a stellar unit as they've lost a lot of players to the professional ranks in the last two years. That said Jermaine Cunningham is a dangerous pass rusher.

The Rebels can run the ball on them and must to win the game. On the flip side they must control the line of scrimmage and limit how much Tebow runs against them. If they can do that and keep the receivers in front of them and away from huge gains they can hold the offense in check. If they keep them out of manage third down situations they have a chance. Maintain long drives on offense to keep the ball out of their hands. They rely on multiple offensive series so the Rebels have to keep the defense off the field.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Vanderbilt Recap

Quite possibly one of the most frustrating games I've ever witnessed. Absolutely gift wrapped this one way. Wake Forest was depressing. This game makes you mad. No reason to lose. So if we're a little overly bitter this week send your complaints to the great Irish Canadian.

There was a point were it looked like we were going to absolutely blow Vandy out in the first quarter. Solid opening drive results in a field goal. Peria Jerry strips Vandy's qb and runs it in for a touchdown. Burnell Mike Wallace takes one of the most the most exciting returns I've seen right down the side line blowing past the defenders. Vandy fumbles on their kickoff return. It looked like we were going to go up big. Then Jevan folded.

But the running game looked amazing. Now that we're four games in it appears we have found our identity. We have two great running backs and another really solid freshman running back with promise to be great. Not to mention Dexter's rushing stats. Vandy could not stop us running the ball. For a team they ran at five yards a carry. Cordera averaged a sick 7.3 yards per carry on 14 carries for 88 yards. Bolden ran 8 times for 44 yards on a 5.6 yards per carry average. The team ran for 241 total yards. Amazing to believe they lost with 241 rushing yards. Eason and Bolden have both run for over 200 yards this season averaging around 5 yards a carry. That's remarkably solid.

The way this team runs. The way the offensive line run blocks. The stable of solid running backs. This team has to go back to Houston Nutt football. Control the clock, wear the defense out, and rush over 40 times a game. Grind it out and keep the defense off the field and the ball out of the quarterbacks hands except about 10 times a game on quick hitting routes and deep attempts to Burnell Mike Wallace to keep the defense looking for it. Other than that continue to pound the ball. Its the only chance they have.

The defense actually played great. Again its unbelievable that the Rebels lost. Now that the defensive line is fully back and healthy they are proving to be the dominate force we thought they were. They are stellar against the run and get a good pass rush to help the secondary. They won't do well in track meet games but if the running game can keep them fresh and of the field they will keep the score down. Powe played a good game and made a few big stops. With Peria, Hardy, Tillman, Powe, Laurent, Lawon the Manatee, Lockett and Stephens we've got great depth and performers. They completely dominated Vandy's offensive line. Peria had 6 tackles and Laurent had 5.

Kendrick Lewis and Jamarca Sandford were again the top two tacklers. It's no surprise they are the top two for the season as well. Fein and Cornell basically split so that Fein takes the obvious rushing downs and Cornell the obvious passing downs. They average about 10 tackles a game and it kind of works. Ashlee Palmer has regressed from last year. He has fewer tackles than Fein despite twice the playing time. Brumfield and Walker at the other position are only picking up about two tackles a game. Same with Trahan. The Cornerbacks are doing a good job so far of avoiding giving up the big play. All things considered the defense is playing better and better every game and is better than expected before the season.


The Game Ball has to go to Peria Jerry. He had a mammoth night collecting 6 total tackles, 2 and half that went for a loss. He also had the already mentioned strip and score. Just an all around great game.

I have never seen a worse performance out of a quarterback. Had it not been for Snead the team would have clearly won. It normally would clearly be the "ugly" if it wasn't for the fact that the rest of the team played very well an enough for a double digit win. McCluster was credited for a fumble and Marshay really did fumble. Both were bad. The Rebels could have overcome both.

Snead's performance on the other hand was the kind that you can simply not overcome. When your quarterback throw four credited interceptions and a fifth that the receiver strips the defender back for you its hard to win. When all of his completions were the result of amazing plays by the receivers to make a play on the ball its hard to win. When you combine the two it is impossible to win.

My favorite statement of the night was when someone compared him to Brett Favre saying he was just trying to much. Um no. Brett Farve tries to much and throws a bullet into triple coverage deep. Jevan telegraphed who he was throwing to, the came out of his had in a wobble, and other than the punt looking hail mary didn't go deep. If attempting a ten yard pattern was trying to much he doesn't need to be a quarterback.

It seems like Snead has a lot of the physical attributes to be a quarterback. He's got some mental block now and after a game like that its hard to get over it. Its affecting his mechanics and he's not using his legs like he should. He throws with his upper body completely and it makes his passes wild and wobbly. He's developing into a Ryan Leaf like case and somehow Kent Austin has to fix it. In the pros mid way through a game like that you pull the qb to protect his psyche. Unfortunately the Rebels don't really have another option right now so Snead has work it out.

Ole Miss dominated Vandy in every aspect other than penalty yards and turnovers. Vanderbilt was just smart enough to quite throwing the ball. They recognized the weakness and just waited for Ole Miss to throw it away. The one part of this I blame on the Fox is that he continued to throw the ball in part because the Rebels were behind. Regardless he did enough to put them in position to win and I don't think the Fox makes this mistake again. I expect them to run the ball into the ground in the future.

I hate to harp on the refs but this is becoming to much of a recurring theme with the entire SEC. The referees in the league are terrible for every team. The replay officials are even worse. Sadly for the Rebels they get more than their fair share of these terrible calls. The commissioner's office has to do something to keep from embarrassing the league.

The two biggest offences were 1) a non call on a hit out of bounds where the Vandy defender clearly hit Eason out of bounds close to the endzone. It was blatant, obvious, and egregious. But no call was made. Instead the refs called a late hit on the very next series on the Rebels almost as a screw you to all of us in that very endzone yelling at the refs.

And 2) Dexter was down. He went down on the two popped up again and was stripped in the air subsequently. It's clear as day in the photo below. Has a knee down and control of the ball. If some yahoo with a DVR and the Comcast replay can get the screen caps to prove this why can the replay official. Its absurd and completely ruining the integrity of the conference.

Sadly this game also shows that the Rebels aren't in line for a quick fix. They have a few years to go before they can return the respectfully mediocrity of the Cutcliffe years.