This past Thursday, as the No. 18 Ole Miss Rebels notched a 35-13 win over the Boise State Broncos in the Georgia dome, we hastily and haphazardly kept track of our initial impressions. Yesterday, as we drove from Atlanta to Jackson, we went through our thoughts, which were autocorrected to hell and back in my iPhone's notes app, and annotated them with the deliberation and lucidity we fans best have when removed from the contest by night's sleep.
Here are those quick hits and our elaborations thereon. We've adjusted for poor autocorrecting, but left my complete disregard to punctuation in place. It's more authentic that way.
Rugby kick looked good
Or, rather, the Aussie rules kicked looked good - really good. Will Gleeson was able to show both power and precision as a punter, and he was able to hold the ball for a longer time before getting the kick off, which allowed the gunners to get a bit of a head start. Overall, punting and punt coverage was fantastic yesterday, and really became the highlight of the first half.
Noh TE good
As a part of our pregame coverage, Whiskey Wednesday wrote about what he figured would be Boise's biggest playmakers on offense: tight end Jake Noh and wide receiver Matt Miller. Noh made a hell of a catch early where he leaped skyward, extended himself fully, and plucked the ball out of the sky before gaining a few yards simply by virtue of his trajectory. It was magnificient, and reminded us of an Evan Engram type of play. Of course, Matt Miller was also an impressive wideout. He's big, physical, smart, and has excellent hands. He'll get a shot at the NFL.
Anthony Alford up man good
Again, more improvement on special teams. Using Anthony Alford as an up back in front of Markell Pack is a really smart move considering his catching ability. He's a professional center fielder, if you've not forgotten, so he can naturally secure things which are tumbling towards his face. With him and Pack, we never had any issues catching punts, even in traffic.
So this is us getting our hopes up about special teams. Let's hope it's worth it.
D weak to quick passes on the edge
I used the term "weak," which wasn't particularly accurate upon a second inspection, but Boise had some success with swing passes, bubble screens, and other quick passes to the outside. Their physical receivers had a lot to do with this, as did their ability to quickly move the ball into space. It was pretty frustrating to watch, to their credit.
It felt strange as an Ole Miss fan, because they were doing what we like to do (even though we didn't see a whole lot of it this game) and doing it better than we would have expected them to considering how much we like our cornerback play.
Golson in red zone
Senquez Golson was tremendous for much of the game, and was particularly dominant when given a short field. In a secondary littered with really good tacklers, he might be one of the most consistent. He rarely delivers a bone rattler, but when he gets his hands on someone they're usually going down.
Kincade in when Bo came out early
When Bo got his head rattled on a third down run, and the robably does not signif
That many false starts is ridiculous. That shit has got to stop. We've got to hope that the offensive line gets its act together against Vanderbilt. (No, we're not saying it will make a difference in whether or not we win or lose, because Vanderbilt sucks.)
"At least we can punt" is very Nuttian
I don't remember when exactly we said this, but it was after Gleeson immediately proved his worth to this team while our offense continued to turn the ball over. One of us said "well, at least we can punt," and then we remembered how that was a common line offered in 2011 when Tyler Campbell had plenty of opportunities to boot the hell out of the ball.
Hey, Ben Still, stop doing that. Thanks.
Laquon should have been the game plan all along
When Quon took over the drive on which he eventually scored, we said this with that sort of "omg we're so smart" football smuggery you oftentimes hear fans offering in the stands. After watching the game, it becomes a bit more apparent that Laquon Treadwell as taken out of a lot of plays by really good zone play. So the throws weren't always as available as maybe we wanted to believe they were.
Even then, the game plan should have been Laquon the whole time. "C'MON COACH GET HIM THE DANG BALL!"
Our defense is not worn out. Theirs is.
We have an SEC conditioned, deep defense. They don't. The way their defensive line and secondary played in the second half was evidence enough of this. Boise played hard, smart, physical defense for much of the game, but couldn't sustain that for four quarters without getting some help from their offense.
A lot of freshmen on D
By "freshmen" I really meant newcomers. Kendarius Webster, Christian Russell and Marquis Haynes all played good football in their first games in a Rebel uniform. Also of note was Tayler Polk, a walk-on linebacker who got to see a lot of action due to Denzel Nkemdiche's suspension and Bird Bryant's ejection. He's undersized, but plays smart football.
Defensive scheme simple
We were probably limited by our linebacker situation, but we also didn't need to blitz too much or get innovative on defense. The defensive line got a good push, the safeties knocked the shit out of people, and the linebackers, while limited, played smart football. We have a lot of damn good players on this defense, and it showed against Boise State.