If you recall, earlier this week I published an article, Five Burning Questions Regarding the Ole Miss Rebels. As the season progresses, I feel there are five real questions for the Ole Miss team that could deeply affect the rest of their season.
Now, I share my thoughts on the questions that Ole Miss fans and college football fans wonder about the Rebs.
5) Will Greg Hardy Get Healthy?
Derek says: I've followed Greg Hardy ever since Ole Miss signed him. The guy can absolutely play and will be a millionaire next year, however, the injury bug seems to get him every year.
He came out of his shell and had a breakout year his sophomore year, had a stress fracture last year, and got injured during the Memphis game three weeks ago.
However, Houston Nutt said this week that Hardy is expected to play against South Carolina. Asked about it, Greg Hardy said that he was good, but didn't 'feel Greg Hardy yet'. I think that Hardy will eventually get healthy, but won't be close to 100% until the Alabama game.
4) Are the receivers as good as once believed?
Derek says: There's no doubting Shay Hodge or Dexter McCluster's ability to be quality receivers. What people doubt, however, is Markeith Summers and Lionel Breaux to be big time receivers for the Rebs. Breaux and Summers both had drops during the Southeastern Louisiana game this week.
However, the group looks to be getting better with the progression of HS All-American Pat Patterson, who caught four receptions for over 70 yards and a touchdown. At this point, I don't think you can say whether or not the receivers are as advertised.
If I had to guess, I'd say yes, basically because of what I saw at the end of the season during the LSU game and the quickness I see from Breaux rarely this year. Summers also caught a TD against Memphis, so I think it's too early to tell. One thing is for sure, we'll learn quick on Thursday.
3) Is the secondary a weakness?
Derek says: Honestly, this is an easy answer for me. I could end up eating my words after Thursday, but after two games, it's not the secondary that's really the weakness. The weakness, if one at this point, seems to be at linebacker.
The defensive line is doing a great job of setting the linebackers up for plays, but tackling has been sub par. As for the secondary, has it actually faced someone yet?
No, but Marshay Green and Cassius Vaughn look just as physical as they were against Graham Harrel's passing attack in January and Johnny Brown looks like a great SS to replace Jamarca Samford. My answer for now: No, linebackers are the concern.
2) How will the offensive line look against SEC competition?
Derek says: They will definitely have to look better. They looked better against Southeastern Louisiana, but it was Southeastern Louisiana. There were times against Memphis it looked as though they would collapse.
If they do that against South Carolina, Snead will have no time to throw the ball downfield, which will hurt the Rebel's chances tremendously. I think the offensive line clings to the development of Bobbie Massie.
He hasn't gained much playing time yet, but Ole Miss is counting on him depth wise to play soon. I think the Ole Miss offensive line won't be horrible, but at this point won't be near as solid as the end of 2008 with Michael Oher.
1) Will Jevan Snead stay consistent?
Derek says: Arguably, nobody was as hot as Jevan Snead to end the year last year: 16 touchdowns, 3 interceptions to end the year during the Rebel's six game win streak. He was named a top five returning quarterback by ESPN and Kirk Herbstreit. He's also still currently No. 2 on Mel Kiper's Top QBs for the 2010 NFL Draft. He fueled the doubters back up when he threw two interceptions against Memphis.
If you recall, Snead started out with 10 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. My opinion is that it'll take a couple games for Snead to get adjusted to working without Mike Wallace. Wallace was a crucial part at the end of 2008 of spreading the field for Snead. Pat Patterson is the guy the coaching staff want to fill that role.
Patterson did a good job against Southeastern Louisiana, but again the reoccurring them, it's Southeastern Louisiana. I think once Snead gets his timing down with Patterson, Breaux, and Summers, he'll quit relying on just Hodge and McCluster and will start to keep the secondary guessing.