Usually in this space, I spend time superficially reviewing things that Ole Miss’ next opponent might throw at them on offense or defense. This allows us (ME) the opportunity to scream at the TV when one of those things pops up, and know that we looked at something the coaching staff dissected and prepared multiple responses for in a much calmer, more reasonable fashion.
However, Ole Miss plays the Skyhawks of UT-Martin tomorrow and, despite evidence to the contrary, I somewhat value my time, so I did not look at anything related to whatever it is the Skyhawks do. Instead, I looked at A.J. Brown’s two touchdowns against South Alabama, and broke them down in an effort to show you how one Ole Miss wide receiver could score TWO touchdowns of 70+ yards in under three minutes.
We begin with Brown’s first torching of South Alabama’s defense. The Jaguars have seven people in the box, which, unless some of them bail into coverage, means Ole Miss is looking at man coverage.
Ole Miss called a run-pass option (RPO) play, meaning Shea Patterson can hand it off or throw it. South Alabama’s linebackers crash down on the run option, which confirms they’re going with man coverage in the secondary, with one safety assigned to A.J. Brown, and another stationed in Pontotoc.
Shea Patterson reads the linebacker(s) and knows a run is now a dumb play. He pulls the ball away from Jordan Wilkins and looks to throw.
At the last second, he notices A.J. Brown’s defender sitting down in coverage instead of tracking with Brown.
Given that no safety is over the top (SLY STALLONE’S FINEST FILM) and remotely close, it’s an easy throw into space.
As a refresher, Ole Miss now has one of its best wide receivers, with the ball, in the open field against a South Alabama safety. If you are a South Alabama fan, your concerns should be significant at this point.
A.J. Brown’s second touchdown, which came two minutes and 20 seconds later, wasn’t as precise, but an example of superior talent flexing that superior talent muscle.
Ole Miss is faced with a third and long (UGH).
South Alabama elects to rush only four, which means seven players drop into coverage. Initially, Patterson is eyeballing Brown, but knows that if he throws it, he’s not getting a first down.
He then shifts his eyes to Trey Nixon, who is releasing inside the cornerback. A throw to Nixon will also not result in a first down.
Because the offensive line is suffocating the pass rush, Patterson has time to turn from Nixon and look in the direction of D.K. Metcalf and Van Jefferson. South Alabama does a nice job of covering Metcalf’s inside release and Jefferson attempting to run a downfield version of a wheel route.
Granted, no one is open, but considering Patterson’s tendency to bail early (ENTIRELY BASED ON LAST YEAR’S SHIT SHOW), he hangs in there until he’s out of options, which is good. But when the pass protection eventually breaks down, as it always will, then the fun starts.
He spots Brown before he gets outside the numbers. Now, it’s question of is this a legitimate option, despite throwing across his body.
Patterson decides to throw it (PLZ DON’T DO THAT IN SEC GAMES), and we get an important play in three acts.
BONUS SCREENSHOT ON THAT BROWN TOUCHDOWN: D.K. Metcalf, who was a monster, dealing with fools who want to get physical with him.