You know that feeling the next morning when you are rolling out of bed putting on your Ray Bans and something comfy to meet your friends for brunch but you’re still trying to put all the pieces back together. You know you have it together and are functional but still have that hazy feeling lingering?
Well, that feeling is probably the best way I can describe my postgame analysis for the Rebels against Vanderbilt: nothing but a hanging hangover. The Rebels seem to have carried this hangover with them the entire game, never letting up for a second.
They almost didn’t make it out of that game unscathed, that’s for sure. Even at halftime Coach Freeze agreed that players were not prepared like they needed to be for the game and that he and other coaches were going to have to find a way to coach the Rebels some more. The Rebels managed to get just enough of a coach up to spark a little something in their fire to defeat the Commodores.
However, if that look is any sign of what the Rebels may possibly continue then we are all in for a rough season. Saturday, the Rebels did not seem like the team that defeated Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Rather they looked unpolished as they are trying to get it together but never really finding their rhythm to make things happen.
Of course here’s my disclaimer for not going into all the stats and what not because we saw them first hand if we watched or listened to this game. Hopefully, the Rebels took the weekend to marinate into the reality of what needs to happen to move on as well as rest and rejuvenate before they hit the road to The Swamp this Saturday.
Before we go into a widespread panic in Oxford, this is not the end of the world for the Rebels or even a solid indication that they are about to regress back to familiar ways. What it does mean is that the Rebels are going to have to tighten their belt quickly and efficiently. Another performance like that one against Vandy on both sides of the ball might as well cause us fans to push the panic button right then on this season.
I decided to take the weekend to settle from Vanderbilt’s near-upset before I gave any post game thoughts. I figured we all would have a bit more clarity if we took a moment to breathe.
What we can take away is the most important thing the Rebels are going to have to learn to be consistent. One can see that the Rebels were unsettled through the entire first half and a great deal through the second half until a few breaks gave some life back to Ole Miss.
Another takeaway from this weekend’s game is that the Rebels needs to continue a strong connection with Kelly and his offense. It was clear that despite Kelly and his command, the Rebels’ offense gave Vandy the chance to unmask weak points they could capitalize on.
A sense of balance is what is going to be a big thing for the Rebels to snap back in. As good as our defense proves to be, their tired restlessness seemed to make it more dormant to succeed at stopping the attack by the Vandy’s offense. The Rebel’s offense just seemed to run around as a restless, uncured hangover. Coach Freeze and his team need to open the line of communication with the play calling because the Rebels are not going to be able to start playing well late in the third quarter and expect to make it alive. They will have to take some chances because winning a game with the majority in field goals is not a solid way to make it past the next game.
The Rebels head to The Swamp and the Gators are looking for redemption for their own program. They will be ready to take Ole Miss back down from their outright No.3 position this week. Hopefully, the Rebels reflected this past weekend and prepared to handle business. There is no more time for playing catch up if they want to make it to the playoffs.
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 email@example.com.