I had a chance to toss some questions at the die-hard Rebels fans over at The Red Solo Cup. My answers to their questions are here. Read on for their answers to mine.
More than anything else, we learned that there are, in fact, games that we can win against teams that are competent. We've been so close so many times only to watch that first down be converted, that field goal clear the upright, that penalty ruin our chances. We've watched Ole Miss figure out ways to lose too many games to count with an abacus.
To see the Rebels actually ball out and win a game against a team with better talent just speaks volumes about where we have come under HDN. With a game like this, you wonder whether it's a fluke or a sign of the season to come. We're obviously hoping that it's the latter. With only one game left that is absolutely unwinnable (Alabama), hopes are soaring. As far as my expectations for the season. We're just praying that we'll go 7-5.
See the rest of the interview after the jump.
If your offensive line is as bad as you say it is, you're in trouble. Our secondary is extremely underwhelming. Our linebackers are full of potential but haven't lived up to it. However, our defensive line is uncanny. We're going to get pressure on whoever we play, and the line is going to get into the backfield a lot. With future first rounder DE Greg Hardy back from a foot injury, Rebel fans finally got a chance to see what our defensive line is capable of against Florida. When Hardy would rotate into the game, Florida's RT would look down and shake his head in frustration. As fans of a perennially soft team, we're gushing to talk about our defensive line.
Also, while Hardy is the superstar, DT Peria Jerry is the anchor. He calls for double teams every play and is a leader on the line. When he's fired up, our entire defense is fired up.
We will definitely have trouble with your defense. We got to see Ellis Johnson's prowess for the past few seasons at Mississippi State. We can safely say that we're glad you took him away from Starkville. We don't want to have to deal with that every year.
As far as how we'll attack it, I worry that the Wild Rebel isn't going to be very effective against he 4-2-5 due to the added speed on the field. However, we may not have to use it very much. With only six players in the box out of your base set, we'll probably run freshman hotshot Brandon Bolden between the tackles. He's a power back who breaks tackles like they're nothing. Hopefully, he will be able to handle your enormous linebackers.
With regard to passing, it all comes down to Jevan's head. If his head is in the game, we'll be effective. Our receivers are excellent and are all capable of making acrobatic catches. It's all about which Jevan Snead shows up. Will it be Florida first half (5/15), second half (4/5), or Wake Forest (60/60 2,000 yards, 16 TDs)? We're all wondering how he'll handle the win.
It's hard to judge Nix's effectiveness this season. It's helpful that he has a defensive line full of future NFL players. He has done a lot to improve our defensive back play. Our corners are actually looking for the ball when it's in the air, and he safeties are being used to blitz, something they rarely did last season.
Our linebacker play had been somewhat disappointing until the game this weekend. We weren't disguising blitzes, and when we did blitz, we didn't add any pressure. But against Florida, our linebackers started to show blitz then drop into coverage, blitz at the last second, etc. It was the way that defense is supposed to be played.
We're somewhat worried about the yardage totals thusfar, but the results are hard to argue with.
Well, we would say that it's the most important game of the season, but we beat Florida. Beating South Carolina would essentially guarantee us our first bowl bid since 2003 with remaining games over ULM and MSU being likely wins. Also, if we could somehow manage to win by two touchdowns or so, we would probably be ranked and make a statement to the rest of the country that we're relevant.
If we lose, we're in for trouble. The team is at a pivotal point in terms of morale, and a loss could be devastating after such a big win.