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Brandon Bolden was just shy of 1000 yards last season. He is going to have to duplicate that effort for Ole Miss to go bowling this season.
Riddle me this, riddle me that, who in the hell is afraid of Ole Miss?
Well, no one was last year, when they were the only team to finish below .500 in the Western Division of the SEC, notably losing to the Gamecocks. No not those Gamecocks, the ones from Jacksonville State.
Ole Miss introduces to college football nation a new mascot: the anthropomorphic Rebel Black Bear, replacing Colonel Reb and grass-root supported Admiral Ackbar, eliminating the notion that Mississippi flies their own flag in the face of sanity in a galaxy far, far, away.
I digress though. What about the team? What do the Rebels need to do besides pray?
Well, Ole Miss returns 16 starters and theoretically should be a lot more competitive. The problem wasn't so much the offensive last year. Despite inconsistencies, it actually wasn't bad at all, at 43rd in the nation, averaging 400 yards per game.
Houston Nutt, provided he's not looking for his next SEC gig, needs to find some consistency on offense. First, Mississippi needs to decide between Nathan Stanley and Randall Mackey for quarterback duties, and then they need to figure out if senior running back Brandon Bolden can carry the load with Enrique Davis getting a few carries.
H.R. Greer and E.J. Epperson will likely provide a pretty solid 1-2 fullback punch.
On defense, the secondary got smacked in the face. Last season, they finished dead last in the SEC in allowing 246 yards per game and 109th in the nation in pass efficiency defense. You could probably have completed 50 percent of your passes on the Ole Miss secondary.
If you were on defense at Ole Miss, you would have loved to have played in the fall with junior outside linebacker D.T. Shackelford, but he is out for the season with a torn ACL.
Ole Miss should get to a bowl game this year, with games against Southern Illinois, Vanderbilt, Fresno State, Kentucky and Lousiana Tech on the horizon. The Rebels typically win a game they aren't supposed to, and I think that game may be against BYU.
If they can't get it done, then at least fans still have the Grove. Everyone always wins in the Grove. If you don't know what I mean, then you need to take a road trip to Oxford.