It’s all or nothing when it comes to any game this season.
I know some people view the first few games on their respective team’s schedule as just warm up, and those games don’t really matter because most of them are non-conference.
Here’s the thing for the Rebels this season: to be successful, every game is going to have to count—especially because these first two are going to be the only ones to work out the kinks before we play Bama on their turf. (And we all know they are out for blood.)
As always, I will write my disclaimer for the season because there is no magic formula to guarantee a win or a conference title; much less a national championship. There are some habits; however, good or bad, that can make or break a team.
Keeping it simple, the Rebels’ keys to the game this week are the following:
Staying Healthy: This is never an easy task for any team, much less in this conference. The trick is that the Rebels are going to have to rotate more in their depth to make sure players stay healthy and we don’t lose players.
Playing as One: Every teams has its “stars” and its ‘key” players, but we can’t let ourselves depend solely on them. That mentality among players can ruin a team. We are finally going to see what Chad Kelly can do as he is set to start against UT Martin, but we need to keep Ryan and DeVante in the mix to create more depth, as well as offensive schemes we can run. That will not be easily broken down when we get into conference play.
Equal Play: We all love that Landshark Defense — it has taken us over mountains the last couple seasons. It is a powerful force that is a true wrecking crew. While I am glad that our defense is powerful, it can’t be our only saving grace this season.We are going to have to make the offensive more powerful so it can be just as powerful as our defense.
The Run Game: This is key this season. It is something I know we have all had on our minds to be the game changer. This season may be the one we can finally get it done with the offensive improvements made during the off season.
Whether we are playing the number one team or an unranked team, we have to play them with everything we have while maintaining a balance of physical and mental abilities. The best teams go by the simplest of principles.
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. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.