What happened to this team? In just two short weeks, Ole Miss went from being a team with swagger and resolve, one that didn't shy away from big moments and asserted itself against a superior opponent in a win over Alabama, to a team that looked both unprepared and incapable against a Florida team that, to their credit, is good in their own right. The Rebels looked rattled early, and couldn't get it together in time to do anything meaningful. Florida, a team that had just barely entered the top-25 with a narrow win over a 2-3 Tennessee team at home, dominated an Ole Miss team that had spent two weeks in the top 5 of most polls.
It sucked, it still sucks, and it's going to suck all week.
In trying to find a bright side, it is easy to say that the Rebels could still control their own destiny here and could make their way to Atlanta for the SEC Championship game - Alabama has a loss, and looks ready to hand Texas A&M and LSU losses of their own - but it's hard to legitimately think Ole Miss could bumble and stumble their way through the remaining seven games unscathed. A rebound is certainly possible, but it's hard to imagine it less than 24 hours removed from Saturday's loss. If you're reading that as "welp, season's over folks," then you're kinda getting the drift of the general Ole Miss football zeitgeist right now.
An aperitif is something usually consumed to, so the idea goes, enhance your appetite. It's a pre-dinner drink that's usually light, but tart or bittersweet in a way to awaken your senses. Once you've had one, you're ready to consume whatever it is that is being put in front of you with a freshly cleansed palate.
Nothing will prepare you for this meal. You thought you were heading to a Michelin star-rated restaurant, didn't you? Well you're not. You're at a Golden Corral. Sorry.
"That Didn't Sit Well"
It's rough up front
The Ole Miss offensive line is down an all-American and battered and bruised across the board. That's the easy reason as to why the Rebs have struggled to keep Chad Kelly comfortable and establish any semblance of a ground game against SEC opponents. The not-so-easy reason is that there's something systematically or schematically wrong with what this team is doing up front. It's hard to imagine that the linemen on Ole Miss' roster are somehow the least talented linemen in the conference (but, hey, that just may very well be the case), so why is it that they struggle to keep opposing defensive tackles at bay? Why is it that their blocking schemes don't do just that? Why is it that even an above serviceable back like Jaylon Walton is struggling right now?
Maybe it really is misfortune. Maybe it really is an issue of talent. Maybe it's an issue of preparation and coaching. Whatever it is, this team doesn't have a lot of time to fix it.
There were a lot of them. There are some issues with the center-quarterback exchange, and Florida's defensive line is talented and nasty enough to take advantage of it. Again, this goes back to the offensive line woes.
Red zone issues
"Why is our playcalling so bad in the red zone," so many people ask. Must I again bring up the offensive line? The reason we don't run power sets is because we either aren't practicing them (something I don't believe) or we legitimately do not have the bodies capable of running it (something I do believe). I think our coaches tend to overthink it when they get near the goal line, but real football isn't EA Sports football; you can't just call whatever play you want and expect it to work half of the time.
Hit the Quon, please
Laquon Treadwell didn't get more looks when he was in single coverage, which is bothersome. He's one of college football's best receivers; he deserves more opportunities than this. Even he, at times, looked baffled by the playcalling and quarterback execution, which is nothing but frustrating to see from a fan perspective.
Getting dinked and dunked
All season, the Ole Miss defense has defended long passes (except for back foot heaves into double coverage with Robert Nkemdiche's facemask implanted in the quarterback's sternum - those we just can't defend) and the run pretty well. They did that last night too. They didn't, however keep Florida from eating up the field in six, seven, and eight yard increments with an intermediate passing game. We knew the Landsharks would have some adjusting to do this offseason at the linebacker and safety spots, but we are not sure anyone would have guessed that it would have been this bad.
Because fuck 'em, that's why.
"Going Back for Seconds"
This is the worst buffet ever.