I'll go ahead and tell you upfront: this one's going to be pretty tame. And why not? I get another dose of Rebel football in four days, one that I'm pretty excited and nervous about. So why get myself going too early writing a post-game report about SELA? There were plenty of things to be excited about, nervous about, and just plain confused about. Hit the jump, unless you're a Markeith Summers fan...
First up, quarterbacks (I'll get to you in a minute, Markeith...). I thought Snead was more than adequate in this game, much, much improved over his Memphis effort. He was still a little bit stubborn about going through his progressions, picking up blitzes pre-snap, etc., but his arm and his eyes were much more effective this week. Catch some easy balls that ended up on the ground, and Snead's stats look much better, and most of the haters don't speak up. Even the throw to McCluster that was picked and negated with the interference call... that was fine. Easiest call of the game. The defender knocked Dex out of the way, with the ball still in the air, no question. It was a perfectly aimed ball, even if a little ill-advised.
There isn't a clear-cut superstar halfback in the conference right now, but Brandon Bolden might be the best all-around back in the SEC. Feed him the ball. Nomnomnomnomnom.
Cordera Eason and Enrique Davis both had scampers for scores that made the defense look silly, but both probably would have been eaten up for a loss by a decent team. Again: Bolden. Nomnomnom. 20 carries/game. Do it. Also, Tim Simon still wants to play.
Is losing Hartman for a while a big deal? I can't decide. He can certainly blow up a linebacker or three, but it seems like he misses his assignment sometimes, or doesn't square up properly. You shouldn't see defenders sliding off of the fullback's block so easily to get to the ball carrier. We seem like we have a deep stable of walk-ons from Tennessee private schools with rich parents and attitude problems. Let's give them a shot, and I think we'll be fine.
Receivers... Oh heavens, where to start? You were all pretty terrible, those of you not named Shay Hodge, Jesse Grandy, and Pat Patterson. I suppose that Jesse Grandy needs to prove at some point that he's a threat to catch a pass downfield, because people will start to realize pretty quickly why he's...
WE INTERRUPT THIS BROADCAST TO BRING YOU AN IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT: SHAY HODGE, WIDE RECEIVER FOR THE OLE MISS REBELS, IS A TOTAL BADASS. THANK YOU. WE NOW RETURN TO YOUR REGULAR SCHEDULED PROGRAM.
...and that's how I discovered that Mark May was a transvestite. Where were we? Oh, receivers. Markeith Summers, Lionel Breaux, and Dexter McCluster all had pretty bad drops. Will that happen every week? Of course not. Did Pat Patterson just make Breaux and Summers look a lot less useful? You bet he did. He'll be making layout grabs and offering piggyback rides to defensive backs for a long time.
It was good to see Ferbia Allen earn some of Snead's trust, grabbing a couple of passes when Snead had Shay Hodge downfield with only 3 guys on him. I noticed that Allen and EJ Epperson both lined up more as H-backs at times, which was a look I hadn't noticed with Gerald Harris before. I don't know if that might be indicative of how he wants to use those two down the road, or not.
The offensive line: I wasn't paying attention to you. Every time I try to look at you, I miss a touchdown pass or something. Sorry, no offense, it's just that I like touchdown passes and I don't like fat people. You allowed one sack, and I feel like that was probably Snead's fault, because he looks at linebackers showing blitz, and thinks "yeah, I totally got that guy." Eat your Wheaties this week, because Eric Norwood is pretty good at football.
The defensive line is playing well, but not as well as last year. This has nothing to do with Peria Jerry, really; Powe has been our best lineman this year. This has more to do with the defensive ends over-pursuing and only using outside moves. Stay at home sometimes, guys. Don't try for a sack on every play, because sometimes, the quarterback will hand it to the short, fast, muscle-y guy standing next to him, and he'll run right past where you were two seconds ago. You can ask Coach Nix to tell you what a 'draw' is, though I'm not sure he knows himself.
You know what works against draws? Linebackers! Except not for ours. On any given draw play, our linebackers have erected a table somewhere in the back corner of the field, and are discussing the societal ramifications of the changing demographic landscape of Europe, enjoying a delightful cup of chamomile. With a dash of soy milk. Cream does a number on Allen Walker's sensitive stomach, after all. Seriously though. The draw play. It's killing me. The quarterback slips the ball to the running back, I look up field and I clench: uhohuhohuhoh OHNO SOMETHING'S WRONG!!! Because nobody's there. Fix. That. Shit. The jury may still be out on Stephen Garcia, but by God, he can pretend like he's passing, and then hand it off.
Secondary was fine. Johnny Brown looks like a superhero again, because he's having to tackle running backs all the time because NOBODY ELSE WOULD!
Marshay. Marshay, Marshay, Marshay. You set the record for "amount I've screamed at a player while up a million to 3."
3 botched punts? Really?
Speaking of punts... must we go there? Andrew Ritter and Tyler Campbell want your job, dude.
While that's all I have from the actual game, here are some Grove notes:
Grove etiquette (that means "manners"): Don't walk through someone else's tent, say "Excuse Me!" with an implied exclamation point, as if they are in your way. GTFO.
To the two fellows, also walking through our tent, who tried to start a fight upon being asked to cut the colorful language while in mixed company: I know that orange polo shirts were probably on an awesome sale at Old Navy, and that giant brass fishing hooks look bitchin' when perched on the bill of a camo visor, but please, go crawl back into the dark recesses of Lafayette County from whence you came. And cut the jew-fro; you look ridiculous. Not like a "grown-ass man" as you so eloquently described yourself. I don't fight inbreds in the mud while wearing my nice shoes, thanks.
To the 4 year-old girl who darted through our conversational circle, galoshes caked in mud, distressed look on your face: I hope you found your parents.
Let me know what you thought of the game, the Grove, the 58k we had in VHS for a DII school (crazy, huh?), etc. Have a nice weekend, and Hotty Toddy.