Postgame: Vanderbilt Commodores 28 - Ole Miss Rebels 14

Yeah, it's vulgar. If you've got problems with that, go away. You bitch, and you're banned.

I would typically and somewhat insincerely apologize for the lack of timeliness with this. But as I walked out of Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, wondering why I keep shelling out hard-earned money to pay to fly down to Mississippi and watch this shit-show year after year, I noticed that, on Saturday, the weather was damn fine in Oxford. I looked to my right and saw my Yankee Wolverine girlfriend who, bless her heart, made the trek down to visit the Deep South, me, and my friends. I thought of the bottle of Makers Mark I bought as an anticipatory celebration libation, and then realized, somewhat joyfully, that whiskey is a far better drowner of sorrows than an amplifier. Oh, and I had dinner reservations at City Grocery that evening; have I mentioned that? I was upset, and rightfully so, but I wasn't about to get beside myself, make a scene, or get all mopey because, football aside, I had a lot of great things going for me on Saturday afternoon.

So when the going got tough, this not-so-tough guy got going towards good friends, food, and drink. I'll never apologize for that. Ever. Because it's those things - intangible, beautiful elements of humanity such as friendship, simple sensory pleasures, and a damn strong whiskey buzz - which can, over enough time, right any emotional wrong.

Of course you all can understand why I just didn't hop on down to the closest WiFi spot and start cranking out drivel. I'm back in DC now after a long day of travel and I feel that what happened yesterday is fresh enough on my mind. So here's the Cup's report, late and likely rife with poor observations, naturally hindered by my afternoon activities. Thanks for the patience, y'all. Now, on with the report.

We knew there was a very good possibility Vanderbilt would win this game. Many of us, yours truly included, expected an Ole Miss win but, in understanding the nature of this annual contest and in the wake of our stunning loss to the Jacksonville State Gamecocks, certainly would not have ever treated this game as a gimme. Regardless, what I witnessed today was a tragicomedy of errors, sixty minutes of horrid football played by two pretty horrible teams. But Vanderbilt was not the better team. Vanderbilt won but, if one compared this Rebels football team toe-to-toe to the victorious Commodores, a logical conclusion of black and gold football superiority could hardly be reached.

This Ole Miss team is, on the whole, talented. It is. I promise it. I saw it today and I imagine that anyone, Rebel, Commodore, or otherwise who possesses more than a timbleful of football knowledge would not disagree. It does not, however, boast fundamentally sound players, a killer instinct, or coaches capable of adapting to their teams shortcomings and the differences in the opposition week by week.

First, the players. This team doesn't play like it wants to win. I don't see some sort of emotional leader. I don't see some sort of community amongst the players. I don't see that intangible but entirely observational element of desire in their collective efforts. I just see a bunch of guys going through the motions and giving just enough effort to keep their asses off of the bench. That makes me sick. This isn't the team that ravaged State in the 2008 Egg Bowl. This isn't the team that took down the hated LSU Tigers over the past two seasons. This is the exact antithesis of what I saw dismantle the cockier-than-hell top-10 Texas Tech Red Raiders in the 2009 Cotton Bowl. Perhaps the players have lost their touch, or perhaps the "Right Reverend" has lost his touch, but, after three games, I'm fucking tired of watching a bunch of half-assers. The effort I saw on the field - a bunch of clearly talented players being out-matched and out-schemed by a team which simply played harder and smarter - was entirely reminiscient of Ed Orgeron's last year. Yes, that year where our Rebels only won three games.

And, honestly, would any of us be surprised if 2010 weren't that much different from 2007 after yesterday's game?

Ferbia Allen and Brandon Bolden, volunteer yourselves to run wind sprints after practice for hours, and hours, and hours. You both dropped passes which were sure-fire touchdowns. You were both wide open. Masoli hit both of you in the hands with passes that, frankly, middle schoolers could have reeled in without thinking. And what were the results of those drops? A punt and a missed field-goal, respectively.

Defense, y'all are large and athletic. There are few opponents which you can't outmatch (Nevermind this, Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson, such a statement would never apply to you two and your bodies of solid lead.) but, shit, there are plenty who are more than capable of outsmarting you. Vanderbilt's three offensive touchdowns all came on long runs as a result of the lot of you being way, way out of position. Stop committing one way or another on the option. Stop letting draws slip through your blitzes. Just knock the shit out of people. Y'all actually played great football for a majority of your plays, and I mean that, but you just can't give up big plays, and especially not thrice in a game, and especially not against Vanderbilt.

Interior linemen, I know a lot of y'all are being thrust into the fire due to depth problems, injuries, and other personnel issues, but y'all need to grow up and do it fast. It appears that our coaches haven't exactly figured out that none of y'all aren't exactly good at blocking opposing defenders, but they're going to keep calling plays which are going to require you to play above your heads. Sorry.

And, coaches, I'm going to lay this out there for you in the simplest terms I can. Your offensive line is. not. very. good. at. run. blocking. It isn't. And that's not an entirely terrible thing because I am certain that is a weak spot for a handful of college football teams. But do you know how those teams alleviate that problem? They run an offense which does not rely on heavy run blockers.

Get. A. Motherfucking. Clue. You have Jeremiah Masoli at quarterback, a guy who truly proved his worth as a runner today with an eye-popping and, at the time, game-changing touchdown run, and what do you do with the guy? You line him up with Enrique Davis in the damned Power-I? You run isolation and draws with that shit? That is ri-damned-diculous.

True, Masoli spent some time in the shotgun, ran some zone read, and spent some time rolling out, but this offense, considering it's weak interior line and talented mobile quarterback, should be in a zone-option type offense nearly exclusively. The first time we went up the middle on third-and-one and didn't get it, I was miffed. The second time, I was annoyed, the third time, I was ready to choke somebody. Fucking stop doing that bullshit right now.

And, speaking of Enrique Davis, what exactly does he have on Coach Nutt? Houston, you know blackmail is illegal in most places, right? And whatever he's holding against you to get you to give him more touches can't be any worse than what your creepy exes in Arkansas have on you. Weak-ass humor aside, Enrique Davis is an undeniably inferior back to Brandon Bolden. Get Bolden the football.

Another halfback who does not rightfully deserve our ire is Korvic Neat. True, the guy scored a touchdown, but it's not like we needed him to put the ball in on a goal-line sweep; any of our backs could have done that fairly well. And it's not at all his fault that he was out there when he shouldn't be. It's our coaches collective fault for tossing an undersized, inexperienced redshirt freshman out there in our SEC opener and giving him anything more than a single, gadget play related touch.

"But, hey, he's fast!"

And that he may be, but there are faster guys who are more adept at scoring on this team. Sorry, Korvic. I'm sure you're a fine young man and all, but you shouldn't be on the field against SEC play. Not yet, at least. When the coaches put you in there in the 4th quarter, only to have you fumble the ball away deep in Rebel territory, setting up an easy Vanderbilt touchdown, they fucked up. That fumble, like Bolden's drop, was a huge mistake in fundamentals but, unlike the drop(s), I'm not putting that entirely on you because I don't even have a damned clue why you were put in such a situation to begin with.

The defense, as I said before, played very well during most of the game, only giving up a few big plays. I know that's hard to conclude, but I mean it. Vanderbilt's offense did struggle against the Rebel D except for a few key and beyond apparent moments. The problem, per my opinion, is that those big Commodore plays ended with points which we Rebels weren't ready to counter offensively. Regardless, though, some of the defensive calls were awful. In particular, why we were doing things like lining up in a 3-4 defense when we're deep on the line but thin-ish at linebacker, I'll never know. Why we were lining up in the 3-4 period is really a headscratcher, to be honest, because I don't think I've ever seen this team line up in that formation. Really, the only people who would take our defense, look at their strengths and weaknesses, and toss them in 3-4 formations when they have little-to-no gametime experience in such, are n00b EA Sports players. That was garbage, Nix. Don't ever line up in that again.

(For the record, Warren Norman's 80-yard touchdown run where our linebackers and safeties were way out of position came against our 3-4 look. Just sayin'.)

Coaches, you all need to get a stronger than hell grip on reality. Your players aren't as good as y'all have deluded yourselves into thinking they are. I still posit that they're good, but they have some undeniable weaknesses. Enrique Davis is an inferior back to Brandon Bolden. Our interior offensive line is undeniably a weakspot. Yet y'all thought giving him the ball up the middle on half of your playcalls was a good gameplan? We're strong on the defensive line yet inexperienced at linebacker, so you put more linebackers on the field and essentially give the 'Dores plenty of time and running room? Are y'all fucking trying to lose these games? This team has some strongpoints. It has halfbacks which are great in space, capable (but not excellent) wideouts, a quarterback with excellent running abilities, a deep defensive line, and a raw by physically gifted secondary.

A lot of coaches could have taken this Rebels team and defeated Vanderbilt by two touchdowns without even trying. Yet y'all let Robbie Caldwell's fucking hokey ass prance out of Oxford with a win because you're all forcing square pegs into round holes.

Find out what this team is good at, and come to terms with what they're bad at. Use those strengths and weaknesses to your advantage, and not the other way around, morons.

Finally, to the Rebel fans, something - really, a whole shit-ton of things - has got to change and fast. Cut the "we are Ole Miss" bullshit. That's an entirely acceptable excuse after something like the Doyle Jackson game. That shit's unacceptable, however, after SEC season-opening home losses to inferior Vanderbilt teams. The more we let embarrassments like this take place, the more they will. We as fans need to stop being enablers. I'm not calling for a boycott or anything stupid like that (but, were it to happen, I wouldn't move to stop it), but we've really got to no longer allow such complacency in our fan base.

There is oh so very much more that I can say on game specifics and there are so many more people I can fruitlessly call out but this thing's pushing 2,000 words at this point. That's two whole photographs per many estimates. I've got a couch to sit on and something not at all football related to put my mind towards so let me whine some more, round this thing out, toss a few parting thoughts.

If fans decide they don't want to keep wasting their time cheering for this team in Vaught-Hemingway, I won't blame them. If players decide to transfer because they're, three weeks into the season, already mailing it in, I won't blame them. If our current commitments which are, per those "in the know", the foundation of a Rivals.com top-15 type of class decide they don't want a damn thing to do with our program, I won't blame them. I earnestly mean all of that and it will take a lot to cause me to feel otherwise.

You fine "visitors" which are undeniably flooding our comments threads (which I'm not reading) can have fun reading this, giggling in between sips of Moutain Dew and arousing yourselves with our frustration, but we really don't fucking care anymore. I'm over this season. My emotional attachment to this annual installment of the Ole Miss circus was hanging by a thin, gossamer thread before this Saturday and that is all but over with. You're accomplishing nothing here but, as someone who looks to antagonize people on the internet, you're probably a big Goddamn fucking loser to begin with so, really, that shouldn't be anything out of the norm for you. So have enjoy yourselves until you get banned or whatever, most of us won't even be paying attention or reciprocating, making your exercises in online antagonization and annoyance something of a sort of futile e-masturbation.

So have fun with that.

What's to come? Maybe some ideas as to who should replace Coach Nutt. All-around, though, expect us to devote a little less time to football coverage and the blog in general because this isn't fun anymore. Or, perhaps it's just not going to be all that fun for the time being. The price tag to maintain this community is, time-wise and emotionally, much more than we're willing to pay right now. We're just so, so sick and tired of being sick and tired. And we are very tired of losing to Vanderbilt.

But, y'all, when basketball season rolls around and our team begins their inevitable early-season ascent to overachievement, shit's gonna get real exciting around here.

Hotty Toddy, everybody.

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