September 21, 2020

Can Ole Miss recover after Alabama thrashing?

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — There were signs that what happened inside Bryant-Denny Stadium late Saturday night was coming.
But this was worse than maybe anyone expected: Alabama scored its most points in a SEC game since 1945, thrashing Ole Miss in Tuscaloosa 66-3.
Despite talk from coaches and players of better push from an experienced offensive line and confidence in Jordan Wilkins and the other options in the backfield, Ole Miss hasn’t been able to run the ball consistently. And despite chatter of a bounce-back year for a defensive line that underperformed last season and improvement at linebacker, the Rebels haven’t stopped much of anything on the ground.
Yet despite South Alabama, Tennessee Martin and Cal averaging nearly 26 points against the Rebels, quarterback Shea Patterson and the nation’s fourth-ranked passing offense put a Band-Aid on those sore spots to help Ole Miss get through the season’s first month with a winning record.
Even offenses as talented as Ole Miss’ out wide are going to have a hard time moving the ball when it’s backed up and predictable, which also became an issue last season. It’s going to be equally as hard to stop any offense when you can’t force them into predictable downs and distances from time to time.

What can Ole Miss do to fix it?

The Rebels can’t bring in new players midseason, so the Rebels are stuck with what they have on the roster to try to find solutions. That could mean personnel changes, but the personnel is part of the problem. Recruiting misses by former coach Hugh Freeze and his staff along the offensive line and at running back and linebacker continue to be glaring in what’s arguably the nation’s most talented conference.
But the Rebels have to try something with the bulk of their league slate remaining starting with a trip to No. 13 Auburn next Saturday. Teams are going to continue to pick at Ole Miss’ wounds until the Rebels show they can stop some of the bleeding.
Davis Potter is the Ole Miss beat writer for the EAGLE. Contact him at davis.potter@oxfordeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter at @DavisEPotter.