FOOTBALL: Day After Observations

Notes, quotes and thoughts from Ole Miss’ 23-17 loss to Vanderbilt.

It is surprising how fast and how far Jevan Snead has fallen, but he’s dropped a long way from his four-touchdown, near-game saving performance at Wake Forest.

He showed poise, accuracy and clutch performance in North Carolina, and, quite possibly, he developed a bullet proof mentality, a belief that bad things won’t happen to him. That’s what it’s looked like as he’s forced throws and thrown six interceptions with no touchdowns over the last two weeks.

In the last two games, Snead has resembled a slightly more productive Brent Schaeffer. He’s a guy in whom you can see the talent, and you wonder when it might kick in.

It better kick in soon if the Rebels (2-2, 1-0) are going to avoid a fifth-straight losing season.

Back in August I had the opinion that Ole Miss had to be 3-1 after four games to have a shot at six wins and a bowl game. Certainly, it’s an uphill climb now, but based on what I’ve seen from South Carolina and Arkansas, winning both of those games isn’t impossible. It will be impossible if the offense turns it over six times. Ole Miss will have to get better in a hurry to win a few games, and surely getting better is the aim at South Carolina and Arkansas right now.

Elsewhere on the offense, it looked like tailback Cordera Eason had his best game, but he also made a poor decision in leaping for the end zone from what appeared to be the 3-yard line in the third quarter.

It’s beyond me how you can reach the opponent’s 1-yard line — inside the one in Eason’s case — and not score.

That’s a reflection of where the Rebels are on the offensive line, which is to stay they’re finesse and not physical, at least not physical enough.

Outside of that play it was a nice game for Eason, who ran hard, ran with some forward lean, and didn’t go down on first contact. He finished with 88 yards on 12 carries.

Wide receiver Dexter McCluster caught seven of Snead’s 12 completions, a couple of them with some degree of difficulty.

McCluster didn’t just bobble the ball when he was going into the end zone in the final minutes. It was stripped by Vanderbilt’s Chris Marve, but that’s just another indication of not protecting the ball. Got to hold it tighter.

Defensively, it was a really strong performance from a unit that has improved each week.

The defensive line is healthier than it’s been all year, and it’s looking like the unit everyone thought it would be.

Tackles Peria Jerry (6 tackles, 2 1/2 for loss, 1 FF, 1 FR and a touchdown) and Ted Laurent (5 tackles, 1 for loss) were always around the action.

Greg Hardy played sparingly but effectively and got a sack in his return.

Jerrell Powe was quicker off the ball than he has been, had good pad level and had a tackle for loss.

This bunch was dominant in run defense, holding a team that was averaging 225.7 yards a game to fewer than 100 yards until the game’s final seconds. Two long runs pushed Vandy to 131 total rushing yards.

That’s good news.

The bad news is the secondary really wasn’t tested, because Vanderbilt doesn’t try to throw the ball.

Most other teams, including No. 4 Florida will, that the Rebels still need to get better there.

But defensive line play against a good running game was a definite bright spot on a night when bright spots were lacking.

— PA

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21 Responses to “FOOTBALL: Day After Observations”

  1. m4rebs Says:

    I believe several of us on this blog let out alligator mouth overload or mockingbird rear, and I’m afraid that’s what our team did last night too. The worst thing that could happen to us was jumping out to that 10-0 lead. I think we got overconfident and went for some forces that weren’t necessary. Jevan is guessing, not reading the defense. He guessed on 3 of the 4 intercetptions and like you say PA, I think he thinks he’s better than he is. Missed opportunities and untimely penalties really killed us in this one. We SHOULD have easily been up 21-0 in the 1st Qtr, but instead it’s 17 each at the half. The biggest play of the game in my opinion was the pick 6. We answer with a KO return, but I really feel like that play set the tone for the way it was going to be the rest of the way. I think we get a little too cute on offense and forces us to play behind the sticks too much. I can’t remember more 2nd and 13’s or 3rd and 15’s than we had last night, and they were primarily due to some reverse-dropped handoff or a snap that gets rolled 13 yards behind the QB b/c we are checking off with 3 seconds on the playclock. Oh well, like I said after Wake, another year, a new coach, a new staff, same Ole Miss. Don’t you think this was the exact inverse of the 2006 game in Oxford PA? I bet if you go back and look at the stats, they would be almost exactly identical, only Vandy with all the yards and Turns, and Ole Miss with the win.
    On to the kicking in the Swamp. How long will the defense be able to hold on that offense??? 5 minutes, 10??? It’s going to be another long season.

  2. rebel2011 Says:

    now i have seen some pretty rough football games before, especially being an ole miss fan. but i dont know that i have ever seen one as bad as that one was. first off, on the first drive of the game, we got the ball on the 20 and kicked a field goal from about the 3 yard line. do the math, and thats about 77 yards. however i looked up on the ribbon board and i think we had 115 yards of offense. i think anybody knows that if you have 80 yards to go for a touchdown and you get 115 and still only get a field goal, then that takes some talent. also, i have no idea why cordera eason jumped from the 4 yard line on fourth and about 3 inches when he easily could have taken 2 more steps and made it in. you just cant expect to jump from the 4 and make it in the endzone unless your knowshown moreno, who jumped from what looked about the 6 yard line last night and made it in the endzone. Jevan Snead should have just sneaked it in, because he only had a few inches to go. that wasn’t the only time, just when all the fans, including me, thought that we were going to have a good offensive drive and actually pull out a game we shouldn’t win, mccluster, who until that point had been the only player on offense who had a good game fumbled the ball on the one. if you are keeping score then that is getting to the one yard line twice with zero points and inside the 5 3 times with only 3 points. marshay’s fumble at midfield didn’t help either. all of those mistakes sound bad enough already huh? well i have not even said one word about jevan snead or the receivers, which was probably worse than anything else. i will not blame everything on jevan snead, because i do not know if it was all his fault. there were several occasions where it was obvious that he and his receivers were not on the same page, and the receiver thought he was running one route and snead thought he was running another. i am not sure which one was wrong, but it always makes the quarterback look bad in these types of situations. anyways, i know that everyone probably knows everything that i have said, but i just had to get it out anyways, and i would be extremely surprised if anyone is still actually reading this by now, but that offense better thank the defense for their help, because the score would have been about 44 to 3 without the defense and mike wallace’s KO return. now maybe the offense will play like it did against wake and the defense like it did yesterday and maybe it will save us a little bit of embarrasment next week and we can keep it close for a little while. the only hope that we have is that houston nutt has always had a knack for playing much better against top 10 teams on the road, and maybe, just maybe he can pull off a miracle against florida and save the season. i know this wish is far fetched, but i am an ole miss fan through and through, and i don’t know if there is anything that could make me lose faith in these ole miss rebels. now its off to church, and maybe that will make me feel better.

  3. southernbutter Says:

    This was unreal. Just don’t beat yourself!!! I’m at a loss for words.

  4. mobilereb Says:

    You can not win a football game with 6 turnovers, especially in the SEC. The Rebs gave this game away. Let’s hope they put it behind them and focus on Florida.

  5. farley662 Says:

    What do you guys think your real chances are against UF? Not trying to be a jerk. Was just wondering. Watched them play UT and they looked like the real deal.

  6. m4rebs Says:

    Farley, we will get destroyed by Florida. Like PA mentions, Vanderbilt beat us and only had to throw the ball 12 times. Our weakness is our secondary on defense and when Tebow starts throwing Saturday, that will be able to score at will. We will turn the ball over 4 to 5 times and we will NOT outgain that high-powered offense, regardless what the score ends up. I see them winning by at least 3 touchdowns.

  7. bigdraws Says:

    I just don’t know about that Matt. Yall always play them close for some reasons.

  8. Jay Stokes Says:

    yet another game that makes me wonder why i stay loyal to the rebels and put myself through this stress every week. some of you know exactly what i mean. just like wake, ole miss handed the game to vandy on a silver platter. mistake after mistake after mistake beat the rebels last night, not vandy. there is something to be said for turning the ball over 6 times and only losing by 6 points. there is no doubt that the rebels are a talented football team, but they seem hell bent on losing. they are talented, but not good. good teams don’t turn the ball over six times. good teams don’t get blanked after two plays from the 1 yard line.

    what bothers me more than anything….is that last year and the year before, ole miss got outplayed and dominated by most opponents. the result was lots of losses. this year, ole miss is playing every bit as good, if not better, than opponents….but it still finding a way to lose. if they were any GOOD (not talented), they would be 4-0 right now. if they don’t shape up, and shape up fast, this could be another long season. i’m tired of being a member of the “good effort” crowd. it was a terrible effort, and even if the effort was good, so what? they have to start winning these games if they want to be competitive in the SEC any time in the next decade. i see them bouncing back against florida, but i can’t predict a win down in gainesville with a straight face. i know it happened in 2003 for another 2-2 rebel squad, but those were very different teams on both sides of the ball.

  9. Jay Stokes Says:

    hey PA….what’s up with more people showing up for the memphis game than a conference game???? that’s terrible!

  10. djrebel Says:

    Matt, you’re right, as I watched the Rebels cough up a much-needed win, I couldn’t help but think of the 2006 Vanderbilt game in Oxford when the Commodores did the same thing. I actually think Vandy’s 06 performance was worse. They certainly outgained Ole Miss by a wider margin that day.

    2011, I don’t know if the play call with Eason’s leap was the problem or if it was just execution. If you’re going to leap from the 4 you better be hanging on to a hot air balloon. I think that says that the coaches recognize that physical play by their OL is not an asset.

    Jay, great point. There is talent on the team, but there’s a difference between talented and good. Houston made reference to it last night, basically saying talent’s not enough right now. They’ve got to learn how to win.

    — PA

  11. southernbutter Says:

    I’m going to try to put this one behind me. On to next week…..I think we have a great shot this Saturday morning. The Vols couldn’t have beaten South Panola yesterday. The Vols’ and Rebs’ play yesterday was similar. Stupid mistakes and inadequate QB play. Eliminate those mistakes and the Gators are getting all they want.

  12. Jimmy Barbee Says:

    Mr. Snead hadn’t seen nothin yet until he faces that Gator defense. They will eat him alive. The Ole Miss defense will be in for a long day trying to contain Mr. Tebow and company. One thing that Ole Miss could have going for them in this game, is that in the past the Rebels have played the Gators tough. Personally, I don’t think Ole Miss has the dept to hang in. The Gators will wear them down and then make the kill. I have been an Ole Miss fan all my life and still support them, but I do know the Florida Gators too. I have lived here in Florida for about 45 years and have followed the Gators and Seminoles, as well.

  13. farley662 Says:

    Got the wife a Tebow jersey for our anniversary. She’s got the hots for Superman!

  14. RoastBeef1 Says:

    If Ole Miss was manhandled by Vandy, I’d figured that the Florida game would be a blowout. Ole Miss outplayed them last night though. Turnovers were just too much though. Ole Miss can give them a close game. Snead is struggling, but there is no sense in thinking his struggles are going to continue. Everyone has a bad game or two. Snead will realize he has to be more conservative with the ball against a very fast secondary. There is absolutely no sense in calling this season a lost cause though. State, Arkansas, and South Carolina have all looked horrible. Auburn still really hasn’t impressed me much plus they come here. UL Monroe should be a victory. I’m not on the Bama bandwagon just yet. Is this team SEC title contender? Absolutely not, but did we really expect that. The idea was that this team would be in bowl contention and they still are. With a team that has struggled over the past few years, you can’t reasonably expect championships right away, they have to learn how to win. They lost a game that many thought they should win (including myself), now they need to win one people don’t expect. A good season is still manageable. One game doesn’t make a season.

  15. m4rebs Says:

    Through the 1st Quarter of this 2008 football season, I’ve made several observations about the football team that I’d like to see different. I know ya’ll hear all my complaints and analysis about the game all the time, but I’m talking about like funzy stuff….. So if I were the AD in Oxford, these are the things I’d be asking Caoch Nutt to look into, in his spare time; what would you guys like to see different????
    1) Black Shoes – we are in desperate need of black kicks. It just doesn’t look right with White ones. We look faster than we are, and I see the other teams defenses overrunning way too many plays!!!!
    2) Go back to the 2004 Away jerseys that have navy numerals, not the white on red only.
    3) Where are the Red Jerseys?? We used to only wear Navy for Big SEC home games and in Baton Rouge, now we wear Navy every home game. Go back to the Red for non-conferences and Navy on the SEC homers.

    What do you guys see and say….

  16. farley662 Says:

    4) Get rid of the ugly gray pants.

  17. m4rebs Says:

    One other thing…
    4) Hair must be cut to stay inside the helments……I probably wouldn’t have much of a team, I know…

  18. djrebel Says:

    Matt, hair inside the helmets eliminates McCluster. Do you really want to do that?

    Beef, I also don’t think the season is a lost cause for the same reasons. South Carolina and Arkansas have looked pretty average, but last night’s loss was huge, because it was a winnable home game. It puts a great deal of pressure on a team that is still trying to figure out how to win when one like that slips away.

    I still think this has the makings of a decent team if it can protect the ball. The offense is going to need to score points, because the defense is going to give it up in pass plays.

    — PA

  19. Jimmy Barbee Says:

    Please don’t get rid of the Gray pants. Thats the only Rebel tradition left from the old winning Rebels. I don’t think the color of shoes make one bit of difference, what does make a diference is that who is wearing the shoes.
    One thing that could seperate the boys from he men on the team is get rid of those fancy face protectors/mask and go back to the one bar type. Or, better yet, no bar, just open face.

    I believe if the Rebels don’t get it together before Sat game, may get beat by a least 3 TDs.

    Anyway back to the shoes, Steve Spurrier use to refer FSU as “white shoes univ”.

  20. john Says:

    we are a lost cause… we are the new vanderbilt… not hard to figure out we are on our way to losing 16 straight in the SEC… we are absoulutely horrible… leave it to Ole Miss to turn Nutt into a loser. Not sure he knows what he has gotten himself into.

  21. bhamrebel Says:

    John,
    Find your antidepressants and get ready for a wild season.

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