Just what Ole Miss needed less than a month before the season opener: injuries at offensive guard.
Sophomore Rod Taylor, who many thought was closing in on a starting job during fall practice, has suffered a torn labrum in his shoulder, according to Chuck Rounsaville of the Ole Miss Spirit.
UPDATE: The injury apparently isn't as serious as first reported. Taylor is going to attempt to play through it and delay surgery until after the season. According to Chuck, he's only expected to miss "a couple weeks."
Taylor reportedly hurt his shoulder while fighting in a boxing match.
A fucking boxing match.
Taylor, a former four-star who saw extensive reps as a freshman, isn't technically a starter on the current depth chart, but there seemed to be a damn good chance that he was going to steal a spot from either Aaron Morris (who's been limited in practice by a lingering ACL issue) or Justin Bell. Those two are veteran starters, but their inability to run block was the biggest factor in Ole Miss finishing 11th in the SEC in yards per carry last season. The hope among many Rebel fans was that those two would be replaced by Taylor and incoming five-star freshman Javon Patterson.
The good news is that Patterson seems to be developing quickly. All those O-line injuries during spring practice meant he got plenty of reps with the first team, and the coaches have been raving about him early in fall workouts as well.
"[Patterson's] played very well," offensive coordinator Dan Werner told The Clarion-Ledger earlier this week. "He's in there in the two deep and battling. He's going to get some playing time this year."
"I love him," Freeze said after Monday's practice. "He's learning. He's only had 15 days. He hasn't had a whole season to see all the different stuff defenses can throw at you. But he's super, super talented — wonderful teammate. (He's) a wonderful kid to coach. He's just a guy that you love to be around."
With Taylor hurt, the hopes of a new and improved O-line could fall on Patterson's shoulders. Otherwise, we're stuck watching Morris stumble through pull blocks for another season.