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Previewing Ole Miss at South Carolina: Topics for Discussion on the Rebels' Offense

I'm a little pressed for time early this week, and with the game coming up on Thursday, I'm not going to have enough time to provide as much preview material as I have for the past three games. Therefore, instead of writing a full column, I'm just going to share some of my thoughts and questions regarding the Rebels' offense. Feel free to share your own in the comments section.

  • The Rebels come into Thursday's big inter-divisional tilt ranked 37th in the country in total offense, 21st in rushing offense, and 72nd in passing offense. Those numbers seem low considering that the Rebels projected to have a high-flying offense this year and so far they've had the chance to whet their appetite against an average mid-major and a bad FCS team.
  • Ole Miss is loaded at the skills positions. Jevan Snead is one of the country's better quarterbacks, Shay Hodge is emerging as an all-conference receiver, and the backfield is deep and talented. However, the offensive line is a cause for concern. If we can get back to winning in the trenches like we did against N. C. State, we can counteract their advantage at the skills positions. However, if we give plays time to develop, we could be in trouble. Big trouble.
  • The Rebels have given up five turnovers in two games. (It should be noted that some of these were special teams gaffes.) We've actually been fairly efficient at creating turnovers so far. Can we play that to our advantage Thursday?
  • On the one hand, the Rebels have yet to go up against a defense with a pulse, and jumping into the ballgame with a team with SEC size and speed will give them a quick shock on Thursday night. On the other hand, while we've taken on a tough slate, Houston Nutt has had three weeks to hold his hand and scout our defense. Steve Spurrier is famous for using these kinds of dynamics to his advantage; will Nutt have anything surprising in store for us?