Monday, November 5, 2012

Rewinding Ole Miss

It's getting kind of exciting. Coming off a win against Florida always elevates the heartrate, and now that we've handled Ole Miss the goals get just a little bit closer and within our reach. I eagerly cued up the DVR yesterday to check out the televised version of the game. Here's some additional observations.
  • Special teams have taken a step forward: touchbacks and kickoff coverage are both good and getting better; punt return decisions are more sound; punting game was solid as Barber and Erickson averaged over 47 yards, including an absolute bomb by Barber that spanned 60 yards and the 49 yarder downed at the two that lead to the safety; extra points aren't tragically tense of late.
  • Marshall Morgan had a very bad hook. I heard Kevin Butler post game talk about it some. His assessment was that he's too far over the ball. That says to me the kid needs two things: confidence and time. Would love for him to get a clutch kick here down the stretch. But file this one away for the off season, hope he gets some help that he's clearly not getting in Athens (I mean, just look at what Blair Walsh is doing since he changed zip codes).
  • Despite the early protection issues that lead to drive killing sacks, I like the confidence Bobo showed in the passing game. The protection improved greatly after the first couple of drives and after the defense stopped the Rebels on their 4th down attempt Bobo took charge. Eventually the offense followed suit.
  • Still, it was a curious touchdown drive there before halftime. The crowd was clearly unnerved with all the seconds dripping off the clock just to finally call a play and then lose more yards to a sack.
  • Even still, it all worked out. Thanks to one of Murray's best throws of his career. I rewound that one and watched it several times. We all went from complete distress to complete elation in a matter of seconds. College football at its finest.
  • I love passes to the tight end. Four receptions for 58 yards between them. Excellent. Jay Rome is slowly emerging as dependable target and Lynch is the dangerous weapon we figured he could be - blocks, blocks, blocks...then leaks out for a big gainer.
  • I was wrong yesterday on my Alec Ogletree assessment. His play wasn't simply amazing, it was also spectacular. I know we frowned on all the talk about "rust", but he played Saturday as if the switch had finally been flipped.
  • Also, Brother Zander proved that Jacksonville wasn't a fluke. Bobo clearly trusts him to do some things that we haven't asked Hall to do to date.
  • Also notably improved, Branden Smith. Had a helluva game, coverage was spot on and continues to be one of our best tacklers.
  • Overall, Ole Miss was who we expected: a fiesty young team that would make us earn our keep. They made things interesting early and we did our share to help them along. But the halftime adjustments coupled with our depth and talent eventually forced them to submit. Long was contained to 21 yards rushing, Moncrief didn't have a single catch.
It all sets up an even bigger weekend coming up. Beat Auburn, just like everyone else.