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.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Weekly Theme Music

Vandy and the Rebels have been together on the bottom of the SEC the last few years both are taking steps this year in the right direction.

Ole Miss and Vandy to stay within 5 points of one another
Auburn to lose to LSU by more than 2
Alabama by more than 9 over Arkansas
Tennessee to lose by more than 7.5 points to Florida
Georgia by more than 6.5 over Arizona State
Mississippi State to cover Georgia Tech's 8 points
South Carolina to eat cupcake Wofford.

Vanderbilt Game Preview

Vanderbilt is a much improved team this year and its not the push over they once were. It will be a tough game for the Rebels but the winner has a great chance to going bowling this year. The looser is going to have a hard time crawling back up.


Vanderbilt it lead by quarterback Chris Nickson. Nickson's not as much of a passer but one of the best running quarterbacks in the country. The also have a solid running back in Jared Hawkins who has run for 268 yards and 5 touchdowns. They run the ball exceptionally well but don't do much through the air.

On Defense Vandy is lead by cornerback D.J. Moore who has a good chance to finish on the first team All SEC team. Vandy's biggest strength is playing sound football and maximizing turnovers. The lead the SEC in turnover margin going into the game.


The biggest weakness Vandy has is their inability in the passing gaming. The Key to the game will be for the Rebels to play assignment football and keep Nickson in the pocket. If every man protects his gap and keeps Nickson from taking big gains with his feet the Rebels can have a good game. This goes towards the Rebel linebackers more than anyone which unfortunately is the Rebels biggest weakness. If he gets loose than its going to lead to Hawkins having a big day as well. The Rebels will also have to keep the turnovers to a minimum because Vandy does their best when taking advantage of a short field.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Status of the SEC

We're a fourth of the way through the SEC schedule. Every three games I'm going to try and rank the SEC. Since few conference games have been played I expect this to change dramatically in the future.

1) LSU They haven't faced tough competition yet going against North Texas and Appalachian State. But they crushed both. Don't really know what they have at quarterback but right now the rest looks like an NFL team. Considering they won a national championship and share of another with Matt Mauk and Matt Flynn I don't know how big of a problem this will be for them. See what they can do against a good defense this weekend and we'll have a better idea.

2) Florida - Lack of a non quarterback running option and difficulty with a bad although rival Miami brings them down barely. Just barely. Still look loaded with speed and they get Percy Harvin back. Have a great middle linebacker but are a little suspect on the outsides.

3) Georgia - Vandy beat South Carolina worse. Knowshon is the best running back in the country. Stafford looked solid against Central Michigan and okay against South Carolina. Defense is solid.

4) Bama - Last year they also started big and fell apart. Huge drop from top three. Win over Clemson doesn't look as good after the struggling with Tulane. Don't see them being able to give the top three teams a game. Could easily fall to a lower team but for now they look better than the rest. Andre Smith is one of the best lineman in the country and a dominate force they will be able to run behind against anyone.

5)Kentucky - Haven't played a tough team yet but putting up good scoring margins. Middle Tenn. win looks good after they beat the same Maryland team that beat Cal bad. Have one of the weakest schedules in the country and might still be a week or two before we know if they really are any good. Poised to take a huge tumble in the ratings.

6) Vandy - Lack of passing game but still find a way to score points. Lead conference in turnover margin. Solid D. Runs the ball very well.

7) Ole Miss - Opposite of the rest of the conference. Potential for better than average offense when they click. Potential for a very bad defense against passing teams. But if the defense can at least make teams keep it honest like they did against Wake, they can have a decent season. Have to have the offense play better than it did against Samford.

8) Auburn - Probably one of if not the best defense in the conference and easily in the top three on defense. Offense is horrible like a lot of teams on here. Chris Todd doesn't have the arm and is too scared to get hit. If Kodi Burns gets healthy they could rise up. The spread does not use what talent they have with solid running backs. Their fans Saturday acted like they lost and didn't think they could win another conference game. I reminded them they still played Arkansas.

9) South Carolina- Defense is decent. Offense is bad. Just not as bad as others. Spurrier doesn't look interested in football these days.

10) UT - After BYU escaped Washington to destroy UCLA, Fulmer's loss to UCLA looks really bad. Fulmer's offense just isn't the same with out Cut. Blowing out a horrible UAB team doesn't show anything. Real test will be how they handle Florida this weekend.

11) MSU - Great defense. Worst BCS quarterback and offensive scheme. How does Woody McCovery still have a job? Is five seasons not enough for Croom to see that his offense doesn't work? And the offense will be worse with Anthony Dixon out. Jessie Bowman is one of the better D-lineman in the conference.

12) Arkansas - Defense looks bad struggling against La Monroe and West Illinois. Offense is having to have Casey Dick perform miracle comebacks to be 2-0. Will be interesting to see what happens when they play above the Sun Belt. Does Petrino quit once a loosing record is ensured? Its about to get tough as they play Alabama, Texas, Florida and Auburn in four straight weeks.

Samford Recap

The game wasn't terribly exciting so its hard to get excited to do the recap. Send your complaints about the recap's lack of excitement to our Canadian friend to the north.

After showing up a little late the Rebel defense actually did its part. Samford helped by missing a 39 yard field goal on their opening drive but after that the defense seemed to clamp down. The only points they allowed came on short fields after Jevan Snead interceptions. The defense only allowed 198 yards of offense and which would have been less had they had three penalties result in first downs for Samford.

The linebacker play was still very spotty as Ashlee Plamer was the only one to get 4 tackles. Allen Walker apparently impressed the coaches because he was subsequently moved to first team after the game. Cornell and Tony Fein each only had three tackles. Peria Jerry had a monster of a game and looks to be full speed again. He was second in tackles with 6 including two for a loss. The defensive line again had a great day holding Samford to 41 total rushing yards for a 1.8 yards per rush average. They will need more of that against Vandy.

Lionel Breaux got in the game and caught three passes and looks to give the Rebels another receiving threat. Marshay Green had a big 77 yard punt return that sealed the victory in the forth quarter. He's one of the better return men in the conference and is playing better in the backfield.

But the running game was the story of the day. All three running backs scored touchdowns. Six different backs carried the ball for over two hundred yards. Eason, Davis, Bolden, Devin Thomas, and Dexter all averaged over five yards per carry. Couldn't ask any more than that from the running game. The line was performing well for every back and didn't give up a sack for either Snead or Billy Tapp.

Eason had the big day for the Rebels and gets the game ball. He rushed for 71 yards with a 5.2 yards per carry average and a touchdown. He remains the best blocker of the running backs and the best receiver. After two long years he is finally getting his chance to shine in the offense.


The passing game struggled this week other than a few great passes to Breaux and Burnell Mike Wallace. According to Kent Austin Jevan's mechanics were off again causing him to over throw a lot of his passes. His two interceptions proved costly as they lead to all of Samford's points. Especially getting intercepted in the first quarter on his own 37 yard line that gave Samford a ten yard field to score.

However it does seem like a lot of the praises that Snead drew just last week were a bit premature. He has to find a way to get more consistent. Instead the running game and the passing game are alternating weeks of carrying the offense. If they ever got together and played at their top level the Rebels could have one of the top offenses in the country. Instead with the lack of balance they can't find a way to score 35 points against Samford.

The failure of the passing game and the lack of passing touchdowns were one of the biggest reasons the Rebels only could score 34 points. There should have been a lot more touchdown celebrations in the endzone against a Div. I AA team like Samford. The last time Samford played a Div. I A team they had 69 points scored on them. And that team fired their coach after the season. The Rebels at least should have scored 50 points on them. Actually embarrassing not to and shows that this team has a long way to go before the return to the top of the SEC.

Bowl teams don't beat Samford by 24 points. The Fox's rebuilding process is going to take more than one off season thanks to the complete lack of depth on the team. They may still sneak into a lower tier bowl thanks to the lack of offenses in the SEC but the Rebels have to make a lot of improvements as the season goes on and they have start facing SEC defenses. Auburn, MSU, Florida, LSU, Bama, South Carolina, and Vanderbilt all have much tougher defenses.

It'll take a much greater effort to score a point on those defenses than it took to score 34 on Samford.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Weekly Theme Music

Until I start feeling better we're going with all Dire Straits all the time to cheer me up. Its going to take a legit program building win.

I don't think a win over Samford is worth anything.

Ole Miss will let Billy Tapp play against Samford
Mississippi State will cover Auburn's 10 points
North Texas will cover LSU's 41
Arkansas will get postponed by Hurricane Ike
Bama will beat Western Kentucky by more than 27.5
UAB will cover Tennessee's 29.5
Georgia beats South Carolina by more than 7
Vanderbilt beats rice by more than 7

Samford Game Preview

Ha Ha Just Kidding. There is no Samford preview. They're a Division I AA Baptist School from Birmingham and the only interesting thing about the team is that former Spirit favorite and Ole Miss Legacy Matt Malouf is their second string quarterback.

Sure some Oxford locals are going to talk about how he's coming for revenge. But it's really just a joke game with a Div. I AA opponent. Vegas won't even put lines on it. Further proof that we have no business playing them. Its not entertaining football.

The worst thing the NCAA ever did was go to the permanent 12 games a season schedule. They let the big schools convince them that this would create a scheduling problem and they needed to allow them to play the Div. I AA schools and count towards bowl eligibility every year. The one conference to do the right thing was actually the PAC 10. They added a ninth conference game instead. The SEC decided to let everyone instead buy a cheap meaningless win over a school they have no business playing.

Its the same reason highschools have divisions. Its not good for competition. Its not good sportsmanship. Its not entertaining football. And the only reason to go would be to avoid having to listen to David Kellum, the worst broadcaster in broadcasting history. But that's only if you're a die hard and want to know the score that bad.

I actually applaud Pete Boone for scheduling Fresno State and getting them to a 2-1 deal. I much rather play and loose to Fresno than beat a DIAA team. The only bright side is that the DIAA buy a wins are getting so expensive that we might not be able to afford them much longer.

If everyone has to schedule DIA teams then the "scheduling problem" would work itself out. And there are plenty of patsy C-USA teams and Sun Belt teams to keep some manageable teams in. It also isn't a bad thing to play some where like New Orleans every once in a while. Most fans would like the trip.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Wake Forest Recap

This one has taken a while to get over. I haven't felt like I was punched in the gut after a loss like this since LSU 2003. Sure we've had a lot of terrible losses and by huge margins. Including to teams we had no business loosing to. But with the gar fisherman you never felt that you were any good so you did knocked down as bad. Just frustrated with the program. Any way if the recap brings you down too much, make sure and send your complaints to our Canadian friend currently lost some where in Ireland.

I won't call it a moral victory because it doesn't even remotely feel like one to me. We should have won that game. Hardy or no Hardy, Peria or no Peria we should have won that game. We were one play away. One real legit play from anywhere in the second half. Don't throw either interception, don't get the holding call, don't get the weak pass interference call, Kendrick lewis holds on for the sack, they miss the field goal, make them work for their last touchdown anything. One freaking play and we could put the Oregron behind us. Instead we are still playing the Orgeron moral victory, "we well look better at least" crap.

All things considered the defense was great and played well enough to win. Riley Skinner said it was one of the best he'd faced. Really stepped up and improved from week one to week two especially considering how much better Wake is than Memphis. If they continue to play that way we will win some ball games.

The defensive front especially had a great day and backed up why I thought they would be a major strength this season. They controlled the line of scrimmage most of the day and only gave Wake 81 total yards rushing with a 2.6 yards per carry. That's what they had to do. With Skinner forced to pass most downs they were actually able to hold him in check at times. They also managed to get five sacks. Marcus Tillman had a great game and the Fox continues to rave about his play. Lawon "The Manatee" Scott played well and came up with a big sack. Kentrell Locket had a bit of a break out game with 1.5 sacks and a couple more pressures on Skinner.

Brandon Bolden continues to impress after combining for 43 yards rushing with a 5.4 average and another 43 yards receiving. Devin Thomas also looked good on his one carry getting 19 yards and showing some good speed. Its obvious the Fox loves running backs and is going to give them all a lot of carries. Cordera also came up huge with the final touchdown catch.

Jevan Snead had a coming out party against Wake and looks to be one of the best quarterbacks in the SEC. If he keeps playing like he did Saturday you have to feel like the Rebels will at least be in a lot of games this year. He show a super quick release and great accuracy. Showed amazing elusiveness in the pocket to avoid sacks and buy time and hit the open man. Rushed for big first downs.

His numbers were sick. 20 of 31, 65% completions, 253 passing yards, 18 rushing yards and 4 touchdowns.

The only thing I'd still like him to do is to spread the ball out more. They only receivers to catch a pass were Burnell Mike Wallace, Dexter (1TD), and Shay Hodge(1 TD). Tightend Gerald Harris also joined in to catch a touchdown.
While the defense played good at times that was mainly attributable to the secondary and front four. They linebackers had another rough day. The top three tacklers were again members of the secondary. You have to have linebackers step up and make big plays especially when the defensive line is requiring double teams. Even if Wake was throwing a lot because of the line pressure most of the passes were short routes and the linebackers were getting beat to the outside. Wake's final touchdown drive was the only terrible drive for the defense where they looked exhausted and gave away a score. It was way too easy and cost them the game more than the final drive where they actually made Wake have to make some big plays.

What didn't help the defense stay fresh was two interceptions in two consecutive offensive plays. Can't do that to your defense. Snead didn't see a safety but after the day he had you can excuse one pick. Dexter's was terrible. He should never throw the ball unless the play is unfolding as it was drawn up. He admitted later he should have held on and tried to run for a couple yards. I think its one of those mistakes that was bound to happen and he's learned from it.

Running game disappearing for the second half until the last drive. The Fox praised the line on Monday for their performance but I didn't see it. Really felt we should have been able to get the ground game established more. Especially after last weeks performance. They managed to barely crack a hundred yards rushing. Enrique Davis compiled a .2 yards per carry average on five carries. That's abysmal and we know he's better than that.

We were truly one play away though. All they had to do was get the sack on the final series or not giving up the 20 completion down the middle. When its that close you have to execute and seal the deal.

The referees were terrible in this game. Absolutely terrible. I counted numerous terrible calls. My cousin who is a Wake fan noticed numerous terrible calls. We even agreed on how terrible the calls were and that they were bad for both teams. Of course we bring our own officials but they are so used to screwing us for Bama or LSU that they couldn't remember this was one of the times they are supposed to help us. The pass interference call on Marshay Green gave the game to Wake and was very suspect according to both of us. But we also got the benefit of a previous interference call that really looked uncatchable. (He was clearly held so a defensive holding call for five yards would be correct not interference.)

But the real issue, since they were equally bad for both teams, was why were the refs calling stupid ticky tack fouls at the end of the game anyway? Let the players make the plays to win. The refs shouldn't have that much control over the outcome. Since the two kind of cancel each other out its really not a big issue though. I'm not blaming the refs at all. You have to make the plays to win. Its just like in a basketball game you don't want the game decided on a ticky tack foul with 2 seconds to go. You don't make a call unless its egregious.

But the real ugly is that we have to find a way to win one of these games. Under the gar fisherman you knew we would find a way to lose. The Fox has won so many of these games but unfortunately with Oregron's players they are so used to loosing. He can't have to many of these or the mental block gets in place again. We can't keep loosing every close game we are in.

I was so excited that we were going to get rid of the bad karma in the second game and had the rug pulled out from under us. Finally some luck from the football gods would shine on us. No we're still Ole Miss and still find ways to lose.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Weekly Theme Music

Here's hoping the Rebels running game shakes the Demons all day long.


Wake Forest by more than 8 over the Rebels
State to eat cupcake South Eastern Louisiana
Southern Miss to cover Auburn's 18 points
Tulane to cover Alabama's 28 points
LSU to take a vacation instead of playing Troy
La Monroe to cover Arkansas's 14.5
Miami to cover Florida's 21
Georgia by more than 23.5 over Central Michigan
Kentucky to enjoy eating cupcake Norfolk State (seriously they have to end these games)

Vandy already beat USC last night.

Wake Forest Preview

(Try Ripping Your Pants Of Now Skinner)

This is one of the biggest games of the season for the Rebels and a big time early test to see what kind of team the Rebels really are. A beat down of Memphis doesn't mean anything. The gar fisherman was undefeated against Memphis State. The first word anyone, including the Fox, uses to describe Wake is always "efficient."

Wake is so efficient thanks to one of the best coaches in America and his system. If the NCAA gave out an award for the coach that does the absolute most with the absoulte least Jim Grobe would win the award nearly every year. (In otherwords he's the anti Phillip Fulmer.) Grobe's players spend years running his schemes so that his teams are always made up of nothing but 4th and 5th year players. Its how he makes up for his lack of big name recruiting. He also does an amazing job of finding great under heralded players.

The foremost example of such is Pre Season All American Cornerback Alfonso Smith. Nutt said he was the best cornerback the Rebels will see this season. He was tied for the most interceptions in the country last year with 8 and returned three of those for touchdowns. He's expected to be at least a second round pick and if he was taller than 5'9" he'd go in the first. Starting Linebacker Aaron Curry is also a Pre Season ALL ACC player and predicted by some to be a first round draft pick next April. Those two combine to lead a very stingy if not flashy defense that is very effective. They return 9 starters from last years team on defense. Wake generally does very well in the turnover battle. Baylor have five turnovers alone last week.

The other reason Wake does so well in the turnover margin is starting quarterback Riley Skinner. Skinner played in only his third game against the Rebels two years ago and completed 4 of 5 passes. His completion percentage went down from there but not by much. Last year he lead the country with a 72% completion percentage and completed 75% against Baylor last week. He rarely throws a pick and is already Wake Forest's winningest starting quarterback in school history. Again showing how efficient this team is. He is the key to the offense and they go as he goes.

The Demon Deacons do not have a lot of weaknesses or any major one and this will be one of the biggest test for the Rebels all season. Quarterback Riley Skinner is amazingly efficient as noted above but does have some judgment issues. As noted by the fact he loves to email nude pictures of himself. I would not suggest doing a google image search for "Riley Skinner" unless you want to see some dong. So maybe if we put a bunch of guy seeking guy personals in his locker before the game he'll play a little distracted.

Other than that their next biggest weakness is the running game. They have a solid line that gives Skinner a lot of time to pass but they don't churn up a lot of yardage rushing. Starting running back Josh Adams was named Pre-Season All ACC but could only mange a 2.6 yards per carry average against Baylor with double digit carries. The second string back didn't do any better only managing a 2.4 yard per carry average out of his double digit carries.

The key to the game is going to be whether the Rebels running game continues to play as well as they did against Memphis. Wake's offense likes to churn the ball down field and take time off the clock. If the Rebels running game pounds their defense they can take control of the tempo and force Wake to play more of a one dimensional hurry up offense to counter the lack of offensive plays. The defensive line also needs to contain the running game so that the Rebels can focus on getting a pass rush and keeping backs in coverage to disrupt Skinner's rhythm. If the Rebels can beat them in the trenches and avoid turnovers than they can pull off the upset.

MS Gulf Coast Raveged With Dead Nutria

According to the Mississippi Sun Herald there are as many as 500 dead nutria that have washed up on shore on the Hancock County Beaches. The Nutria sadly drowned during Hurricane Gustav.

In other news, former Ole Miss Coach Ed Orgeron was seen walking up and down the Hancock County coastline with a brown burlap bag muttering something about good eats.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Giants Title Defense Begins Tonight

Lets relive the moment again before moving on to the 2008 season.

Still nobody believes in them. (Thanks for that John Clayton.) Not that I'd expect anything less from bitter Patriots fans.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Memphis Recap

Exciting times have returned to Oxford as the Rebels had their most convincing win since Eli was a starter. Thanks to the Labor Day holiday and some dental issues I'm putting the recap up a little later than desired so send all your complaints about my tardiness to our friend to the North.

The Rebels have a real offense again. The gar fisherman couldn't break 30 points against a Division IA team in three years. The Fox drops 41 in his first game where they had to be a little rusty since its a brand new offense for the whole team. That my friends means some exciting football is ahead. And for coming out with brand new offensive and defensive schemes you have to be impressed that the Rebels only had four penalties in the whole game. Much more disciplined level of football than under the prior regime where delay of game penalties were common.

Dexter McCluster provided a major spark and showed why the coaches keep referring to him as the major weapon for this offense. He had 65 rushing yards with a touchdown and 61 receiving yards. Opposing defenses will have to account for him at all times. Shay Hodge also had a huge game and might be taking the mantle as our premier receiver. He recorded 79 receiving yards and two touchdowns.

The wild rebel (I really hate that name. I think I'm going to revert to calling it the wildcat) worked well. It might not work as well against elite teams but the beauty of it is now they will have to spend valuable practice time during our game week just to prepare for it. Especially after Snead hauled in a thirty yard bomb after lining up as a wide receiver.

Lamar Brumfield stepped up well and had a nice game on defense finishing with 9 tackles. Jamarca Sanford lead the Rebels with 13 tackles. You hate having a safety as you leading tackler but its a nice performance by him. The Dustin Mouzon and Kendrick Lewis also collected two big picks and Lewis had a great return on his.

But again the big story of this game was the rushing offense. The offensive line looked great and the Fox praised each of Michael Oher, Daryl Harris, Mo Miller, Daverin Geralds, and John Jerry by name. The Rebels have a stellar stable of running backs and look to drive fantasy owners crazy as each one is going to get a lot of carries and who has the big game is going to change from week to week. Cordera Eason drew the start and looked good and physical. He hurt his ankle a little and that limited him some in the second half. Regardless he ran tough and would make sure to get a few extra yards after contact every time on his way to 35 yards rushing. Enrique Davis also had a nice Rebel debut running for 27 yards and an impressive touchdown.

But Brandon Bolden was the beast in the running game that night making a huge debut. His carries will definitely go up as the season goes on. He's the major big back in the wildcat formation and threw the previously mention thirty yard pass to Jevan. He also had 76 yards rushing for a 9.5 yards per carry average. And one of the most dominating touchdown runs I've seen right into our endzone. After breaking a few backfield tackles he flattens a few defenders on his way in. I'd compare his style to Earl Campbell but I don't think he could make as good of a hot dog.

With three running backs and McCluster getting carries, the Rebs might be returning to the old four horsemen days.
The defense gave up entirely too many yards to feel comfortable when the Rebels go against better teams in the future. We might be in a lot of shoot outs this year. Memphis ran for 194 yards and threw for 265 yards. The Rebels also had a lot of trouble getting a pass rush without Greg Hardy and failed to get a sack the entire game. That has to improve or efficient teams like Wake will burn us. You also hate to give up 21 points to them. But part of the problem was three straight three and outs to start the second half left the defense on the field entirely too long at one point.

The biggest culprit there was Snead. He did not turn the ball over and threw two touchdowns but it was not exactly a stellar evening as he only completed 45% of his passes. That has to improve. The Fox credited the problem with drops and Snead being a little two excited to get back on the playing field causing him to over throw his deep ball. The line play exceptionally well and protection was not an issue. With no deep ball Burnell Mike Wallace was strangely absent and finished without a catch. For such a deep receiving core you would like for more than McCluster and Hodge to catch a pass. Other than those two only the tightend caught one pass and the fullbacks caught three. Snead is going to have to settle it down a little bit and hit more than the dump passes because teams are going to start loading the box to try and stop the four horsemen of the Fox. It worries me thought that this might happen again in big games if he gets a little too amped up.


Other than the Memphis fan's geographical skills there is little to say ugly about the Rebels big win. The refers had a couple of egregious calls. The pass interference after the Memphis wide receiver tackled an Ole Miss defender was one of the worst calls I'd ever seen.

But all in all a great debut for The Fox. He managed to bring a sense of confidence in a victory and the ability to take a commanding lead and keep it that we haven't had in a long time. A very long time. Instead of worrying about whether a comeback was in order it was how bad were we going to beat them. Great feeling. Hears to the Fox.