Rebels lean on air attack
Oxford- The Ole Miss Rebels knew coming in to this season that they would be leaning heavily on their talented quarterback Shea Patterson and stable of capable receivers to lead their team this year.
Consider their opening game of the season to be a validation of what Rebel fans have long suspected about the potential of this years offense. The Rebel receiving core, the NwO (Nasty Wide Outs), is going to cause several headaches for opposing defenses.
Sophmores Patterson and A.J. Brown hooked up 8 times for a school record 233 yards and 2 touchdowns, with large contributions in the passing attack from D.K. Metcalf and DeMarkus Lodge. Patterson finished the game 28/35 for 429 yards and 4 TD’s in leading the Rebels to their 47-27 victory.
A tale of two defensive halves
With Ole Miss clinging to a 3 point lead at the half, the Rebel defense turned up the pressure in the second half, stirring memories of the Landshark defense of years past. Defensive Coordinator Wesley McGriff had said that he hoped to create more pressure and havoc in the backfield of the overmatched South Alabama offense and the second half showed glimpses of what the Rebel defense can accomplish.
The defensive line of Ole Miss got constant pressure by slicing through the Jaguars front line, led by Benito Jones and Josiah Coatney, who both showed explosion off the ball. The Rebels also should be pleased with the emergence of Freshman Charles Wiley who showed his potential. The coaching staff has had high praise for him over the preseason and performances like this show why.
The Rebels new Air Raid attack showed flashes of being one of the most potent in the country, with 5 different Rebels registering multiple catches. If Shea Patterson can continue his progression, and the Rebels offensive line gels more before SEC play then the Rebels offensive attack will open up more running lanes. Senior Jordan Wilkins power running game will then compliment Ole Miss ability to spread the ball around the field. Tackling, which was a concern for Ole Miss last year, was still an issue during parts of the game against South Alabama and will need to be hammered out before conference play.
The Rebels get another non-Power 5 school next week as they host UT-Martin in Oxford.
Jon R Myers is a senior editor for the Mississippi Social Sports Network.