This story was originally published on SECCountry.com.
Before Ole Miss QB Shea Patterson’s sophomore season even started, it became known that he had no shot of leading the Rebels to the postseason when it was over.
Then, he lost his head coach.
All the turmoil in Oxford that preceded the 2017 season — including, of course, the resignation of Hugh Freeze just weeks before the start of the regular season — made for a very trying time for Patterson and his teammates.
On Wednesday, Patterson talked about that with Paul Finebaum.
“Initially, it was pretty crazy. Usually when something that catastrophic happens to a program, it can either break you or make you better,” Patterson said. “I think we have a very good group of guys and a great support staff, very fortunate to have great senior leadership and a bunch of the older guys have done an awesome job. This 2016 class, the guys above us have really come together, and I think it’s benefitting us.”
Ole Miss opened the season with an impressive 47-27 win over South Alabama, not a team the Rebels could overlook given the fact that the Jaguars took down in-state rival Mississippi State last season.
Patterson was prepared, throwing for 429 yards with 4 TDs and no INTs, making use of his bevy of weapons. His favorite last Saturday was A.J. Brown, who caught 8 passes for 233 yards and 2 TDs.
It was a solid start for a Rebels team that wants to show its ability to overcome adversity, especially to the media, which picked Ole Miss to finish dead last in the SEC West (actually receiving fewer total points than any other team in the conference).
“It puts a huge chip on our shoulder,” Patterson said. “This past Saturday, we were just happy to just get out there and play and do what we love for the university that we love. With all the other stuff that went on this offseason, this really was out of our control. The only thing we can control is working hard and just going out there and playing, and that’s what we’re going to do.”