What a difference a week can make for the look of a team. Well, we can officially say we have seen the two faces of the Rebels.
There is no question that I was raised to be a football fan, but as a football writer and analyst, part of my job is to remain objective, which at times is a lot easier said than done. I have heard coaches say a win is a win and doesn’t always have to be clean or pretty. I can sit here and write some sanctimonious piece on the last two weeks for the Rebs and make it seem like we are back.
However, the reality of the situation won’t hit until we meet Alabama and the conference games that follow before we really get a grasp on where we stand. The Rebels, while on the upswing, still look to be winning as many parties as SEC rival games if they don’t tighten up their belts.
Don’t get me wrong. I have great belief that if this team learns to utilize its talents and create a balanced front on both sides of the ball, Ole Miss players will remain fresh instead of running on fumes. Next thing is to focus the small details. That’s what separates good teams from great ones.
It’s easy to get rowdy and restless the first game of the season. That inattention to detail against Boise State played a big factor in the mind-numbing number of motion penalties.
So let’s get down to business, shall we folks! Plain and simple, the Rebels are on the rise and managed to climb up the AP Poll to No. 14. They can’t afford to let the hype distract them. The Rebels’ win against Vandy helped the squad maintain momentum in the conference. So what’s it going to take for the Rebels to keep moving on up?
The focus points this week are mostly on offense.
Keeping Bo Focused — Bo Wallace is a heck of QB when he’s on, but when he’s off, he can make bad decisions. He is going to have to continue to find that level-headed balance in leading the offense to consistent, turnover-free drives and scores.
Last week we got a glimpse of the QB that looks like he is the most experienced in the SEC this season — throwing TDs and not interceptions.
Getting at the “Core” — The Rebels have found a gem in Cody Core. They need to continue to utilize him to build their production and offer Bo a bookend to complement Laquon Treadwell. With these two tall targets, Wallace can stretch the field and keep any defense looking for the pass.
Run like the wind — But then we need to pound the ball on the ground. We need a run game that is consistent and efficient. We all know what I’Tavius Mathers and Jaylen Walton can do when they get a hold of the ball. The Rebels need to continue stressing the run so we can open up our playbook for full aerial and ground offensive fireworks.
Keeping it hot — There is no arguement that the defense for the Rebels is on fire this season and shows no signs of cooling down. Let’s continue to fuel that fire as we move soon into the heart of conference play. With five interceptions and four sacks already, the boys on defense are showing opposing offensive lines just who the Rebels are. Watch out for defensive leaders Cody Prewitt and Mike Hilton, because they’ll continue to rage in Week 3 against the Rajin’ Cajuns.
The Rebels simply need to settle down and not run themselves into the ground. There is no need to become restless Rebels when with such an abundance of talent. We just need to find that fit and balance that will allow the boys to show up for four quarters each game.
I return soon with my keys to the game and some tailgaiting bits for the home opener. Hotty Toddy, y’all.
Lee Ann Herring-Olvedo is a HottyToddy.com contributor, veteran SEC sports journalist and Brown University graduate. She loves good cigars, good games and a smooth glass of bourbon — not necessarily in that order. Follow her on Twitter @misskyus2011.