Well. Here we are again, Rebel fans. Sunday has come and gone, and the post game report is well overdue. There will generally be two reasons for this: 1.) incredible, party-inducing upset. 2.) ridiculous, hope-killing loss. Football is a funny game. With 85 scholarship players, 22 guys on the field all at once, there are just too many variables to predict it. Sometimes you go on the road and beat the #4 team in the country, sometimes you get embarrassed at home by a quarterback who previously couldn't find his own ass with both hands and a mirror.
If there is any silver lining to this dark cloud of a game, here it is: I was on the field, and you weren't. I figured that it'd be a unique experience, and I'd have a good time. I was wrong: I had the most unbelievably kickass time maybe ever, until we lost. Even then, I had a far easier time getting out of the stadium than you did. You can bet your ass that I'll be back on the field at the next available opportunity. If you ever have the opportunity to start a sports blog, feign legitimacy, and gain inside access to sporting events, I'd highly recommend it. Pictures from on the field will be posted in the near future, but I've still got 75 or so pictures to sort through and edit. They're a little bit too far away due to the limitations of my lens, and we'll have that problem fixed in the future.
As far as the actual game goes...
1. I can't believe that Smelley passed for 327, even against this secondary. Cassius Vaughn was certainly the goat of the day. Pressure was good early on, but really absent later. It seemed like Spurrier really picked us apart out there, rather than South Carolina's average receivers or Smelley's average arm.
2. Turnovers. It seems like these aren't really careless turnovers we keep having, but caused by guys trying to make something happen. Its got to be hard to balance the intensity you need to hit the hole, to run the crisp route and bring it in, to scramble out of the pocket, with the smarts to just tuck it in and go down. Still, Nutt's got to find ways to get guys to protect the possession.
3. I understand why McCluster is the quarterback in the Wild Rebel, but I really want to see Boldin take more snaps back there. Breaux and Devin Thomas have both proved decent playing out wide in that formation as well, I'd like to see more of them.
4. Boldin is still pretty badass. Let Eason be a 3rd down back or whatever. Let Boldin tote it 20 times a game.
5. I think that we were overall caught off-guard by how well USC's offense played, and how mediocre their defense was at times. I think we were expected a tight defensive game, and it didn't end up that way.
6. Replay blows. It has improved the accuracy of the calls only slightly, and takes too much time. This, along with media time outs for a game that was only on friggin' pay-per-view, made for a slow, agonizing game.
7. Still waiting for Mike Wallace to have a breakout game, and to see more of Andrew Harris and Markeith Summers. Those guys are all ballers, but they haven't produced much on the field.
8. To the State Trooper on the sideline who cussed and yelled at the Field Judge along with the rest of the Ole Miss crowd: props to you. I hate cops, but that guy's OK.
So that's all I've got, really. Analysis from field level is a little more difficult. The closeness of it all is awesome, but you lose some perspective. I can't be sure what to expect out of this Rebel team for the rest of this season, but here is my early prediction: we upset either Bama or LSU, and then lose the following game (Arkansas or MSU). We beat ULM, and the difference between a 6 and 7 win season comes down to Auburn. I can't pick Ole Miss right now in that game, but it should be really close. We go bowling, but with the rotten taste in your mouth that comes with spending the holiday in Shreveport. Bye week coming up, everyone, enjoy next Saturday. Ole Miss can't lose. Hotty Toddy, and goodnight.