Commentary by HottyToddy.com contributor Lee Ann Herring-Olvedo
Fulton Sheen once said, “Patience is power. Patience is not an absence of action; rather it is “timing,” it waits on the right time to act, for the right principles and in the right way.”
One thing the Rebel Nation has forced itself to be good at is patience. It seems we’ve been waiting for that moment for the recruiting skills of Coach Freeze and the performance of the team on the field to all come together at one time.
The time is now! As an athlete or a fan, we all dream of that moment when it all turns around at just the right time. In baseball, they dream of the no-hitter, the perfect game. In football, we dream of that undefeated season when it seems that, for that precious moment in history, we have the opportunity to taste the glory of something that fate had always had in store for us. That’s ole Miss football this season.
Of course this is a big week for the Rebels with Homecoming and a huge game against our old Rocky Top rival. This game, for me, always brings a little more heated passion to the table. My readers who know me know understand that my feelings towards Tennessee are strong — and not in a good way.
We have now crossed over to the point in the season where we’re wearing a big target on our back. Our rivals are all looking for their chance to derail the Magnolia Miracle. Will it be Tennessee? I hope more than anything it won’t — but I also know it’s one of those seasons where the unexpected is happening, especially right here in Mississippi.
Okay as always for those betting folks here’s the line for this weekends showdown Over/Under: 46.5 Spread: Ole Miss (-16)
This may seem like a cut-and-dry match-up on paper, but we all know you can throw the stats with that stats away on game day. Tennessee is in a rebuilding mode but has been competitive in some nail-biters this season. The Vols and their fans come into Oxford with nothing to lose and everything to win. With that kind of mentality, anything can happen.
This week’s keys to the game are sweet and simple for the Rebels to continue riding high.
The biggest thing for Rebels this week is not to be complacent in any area of play. They will have to pace themselves on both sides of the ball and keep the rhythm going for Bo on offense so they can continue to build their ariel and ground attack.
Utilizing time management and time of possession to their advantage is going to be clutch for the Rebels so they can wear down the Vols early on. If the Rebels can play fast-paced but controlled enough to dominate the game, they won’t make shortsighted and careless mistakes that work against them. This game has to be about making things work for you and being the one to command the game for each quarter.
It’s no question that seven weeks into the season, players are definitely feeling the wear and tear physically and mentally. It’s hard not to show weakness and vulnerability when there is a lot on the line. The Rebels have performed fantastically well so far at knowing when to rotate and refuel before we run ourselves into the ground.
Finally, play with passion, purity and keep it simple. Clearly, if something is working, there’s no need to get fancy or change the rhythm of the game. To have a dream season the mentality can’t be solely based on the idea of winning. It has to be about something more than the tangible accolades. When we do anything in life worth doing, the first prerequisite is passion that creates that inner drive, which allows everything to follow. It is easy when you are on this kind of high to lose focus and look beyond what is in front of you. That’s not to say, every once in a while, it’s good to try something out of the playbook that is out of left field just to keep it interesting.
This week It’s about keeping ourselves in check and taking care of business. Not to say we shouldn’t worry about Tennessee or let our guard down by any means. In my opinion favorites, underdogs, lines and odds are thrown out the window at this time in the season. When I see teams play with this level rawness and passion, it makes me always remember why there is no place like SEC football.
Are You Ready? Hell Yeah! Damn Right! Hotty Toddy, Gosh Almighty, Who The Hell Are We? Hey! Flim Flam, Bim Bam Ole Miss By Damn!
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.