Friday, August 27, 2010
SEC 2010-Mississippi Rebels
2009 Record: 9-4 (4-4)
Head Coach: Houston Nutt (3rd season, 18-8, 129-78)
Offensive Coordinator: Dave Rader (1st season) and Mike Markuson (1st season)
Defensive Coordinator: Tyrone Nix (3rd season)
2009 Bowl Game: Cotton Bowl, defeated Oklahoma State 21-7
Offense: There has been much change at QB for the Rebels this off season. Gone is Jevan Snead, bust extraordinare. Nathan Stanley was supposed to start in 2010, with Raymond Cotton backing him up. Cotton left the team, and then came Oregon outcast Jeremiah Masoli into the mix. Masoli took the starting job, and now Stanley has been banished to the bench. Let's not fool anyone. Masoli gives the Rebels a huge chance to win. JC transfer Randall Mackey is now battling Stanley for the backup job. Brandon Bolden will now own the starting RB job, after sharing it much of last season. The WR jobs are both open going into the start of the season, so expect to see a rotating group there. 3 starters return on the line.
Defense: The D wasn't bad in 2009, ranking 15th in scoring D, and 15th against the pass. That will be hard to duplicate in 2010, as SS Johnny Brown is the only returnee in the secondary. The strength this season will be in the front 7, where 5 players return. There is a ton of depth on hte front line. DT Jerrell Powe and DE Kentrell Lockett are beasts on the line, and are expected to be even better this season. DT Lawon Scott also returns, and is a mountain. Allen Walker and Jonathon Cornell both return at LB.
Special Teams: Byron Rose looks to be the new PK in 2010, but will battle Andrew Ritter and David Hankins for the job. Tyler Campbell has a big leg, and averaged 44 yards per punt in 2009.
Wins: 9/4 Jacksonville State, 9/11 @ Tulane, 9/18 Vanderbilt,11/6 Louisiana-Lafayette,
Toss Up Games: 9/25 Fresno State, 10/2 Kentucky, 11/13 @ Tennessee, 11/27 Mississippi State
Losses: 10/16 @ Alabama, 10/23 @ Arkansas,10/30 Auburn, 11/20 @ LSU
The truth is that this schedule does lend a chance for the Rebels to return to a bowl this season, but they have to win 3 games from the toss bo to qulaify. The wins are all easy wins, and there are at least 2 opportunities for upsets in the loss box, specifically against Arkansas and Auburn.
Outlook: Last season was a major let down. The Rebels were supposed to be one of the class squads in the SEC, and although they won 9 games, they still lost games that made no sense, and Jevan Snead never lived up to his hype. In my poll last season, Ole Miss took over half of the season just to sniff at the top 25, when they had been top 10 everywhere else. The numbers never added up. The Rebels will likely not win 9 games again this season, but they can push 6 or 7 and get back to a bowl. If Masoli lifts the Rebels as much he lifted the Oregon Ducks, than a miracle can happen, and you would have the surprise team of 2010 in Oxford.