Whiskey Wednesday: So, here we are. Let's talk.
The Ghost of Jay Cutler: Okay, first things first - Ole Miss only scored 31 against SEMO, and was completely shut out in the second half. Is this a cause for concern. If so, how and to what extent?
Juco All-American: Sorta. More than anything, this game showed Ole Miss that if Bo Wallace gets hurt things get really, really sucky. It's not that the rest of the team sucks. Even Barry Brunetti, who everyone wanted to hate on when the game was over, produced yardage. He just can't throw it very well. 3/12 against SEMO is pretty bad. If Wallace got hurt for long, it's obvious that the coaches would pull a freshman redshirt. That's not a great situation to be in at this point of the season.It was also frustrating that a number of backups, who should theoretically play their asses off with the hopes of earning playing time, instead came out flat. Rough.
Whiskey: I think you pretty much nailed it. My concern is that I can't really think of a winning football program that doesn't routinely hang 50 or more on a team like SEMO. The fact that our 2nd and 3rd teamers aren't motivated or prepared enough to score some damn points and keep the shutout going, is to me a really bad indicator of our mindset as a program. We can obviously get up for some big games, maybe find an upset or two this season, but being able to come out against a weaker team and leave absolutely no doubt... that's something that I associate with winning programs that have a winning attitude and take a businesslike approach to every practice and every non-conference cakewalk.
Next question: What were your thoughts on the freshmen in the game?
Ghost: Well Robert Nkemdiche's a badass, but we already knew that, and it shouldn't be surprising to watch him do well against SEMO. I think he was out of position a few times, and there were some plays where he, much to my chagrin, looked pretty hesitant. Other than that, he was very powerful and had an impact on the SEMO line.
Treadwell and Adeboyejo were largely nonexistent, but they only had balls thrown their way maybe a couple times each? Evan Engram though had a catch that I'm still trying to process in my head. So he was lined up on the LOS as a true tight end in that play, wiggled into a seam in the SEMO zone, caught a pretty well thrown ball, and just trotted into the endzone somewhat effortlessly for a 60-something yard score. I know he needs to put on weight to take on SEC linebackers as a blocker, but he's phenomenal as an edge blocker for his age, and he has great athleticism for a tight end. What a damn good talent evaluation by Hugh Freeze.
Speaking of freshmen, should we have burned quarterback Devante Kincade's redshirt? A lot of fans were upset that we couldn't get more out of Barry Brunetti and Robert Ratliff, and are rightfully worried that, without Bo Wallace, this offense will crumble. Should Kincade have gotten some real game experience?
Whiskey: I think you have to keep Switchblade's redshirt; in the event that he is the future at QB, and we burned his 'shirt this year, then we potentially have only 2 years for him to start, with no telling how QBs behind him might pan out. Plus, it's been said that Freeze does things like this to manage expectations. If everyone sees that our backups struggle to produce against a shitty team, then it makes it more understandable when we struggle against talented, deeper teams.
Juco: I think that burning Kincade's redshirt would have been a mistake. Sure, the coaches would like for him to be prepared for game action in case something were to happen to Bo Wallace. Does facing Southeast Missouri State's defense really prepare him though? I'm honestly not sure how much better their defense is than the Ole Miss second-string D. People have asked, "but what if Bo gets hurt in the first series of the __________ game and can't go?" Then Ole Miss probably has the same outcome regardless of whether or not Kincade threw 12 passes against SEMO. The alternative is what if those twelve passes against SEMO are the only twelve passes Kincade throws all season. In that case, we would all look back after his senior year and say, "well... his freshman year was a huge waste."
And for the last question... Itavius Mathers had several carries in the game. What did you take away from his runs? The coaches had mentioned him as a potential #2 back. Would you say that's likely?
Ghost: Yes. iTavius has some mass that Jeff Scott and Jaylen Walton don't possess. I'm a big fan of both Scott and Walton, but against SEC defenses they will get knocked over a lot. The ambling Apple product (too much?) showed nimbler feet than I anticipated this past weekend, and could be a guy who can, if his sprained ankle holds up, fight for the tough yards in short yardage situations.
Whiskey: So you, who just read this, what would you like to add to this discussion? What additional questions do you have?