2013 Ole Miss Spring Football Analysis
Ole Miss Rebels 2012 ...
Head Coach: Hugh Freeze
Why To Be Excited ... It’ll be tempting to dream about the SEC championship banners going up after an epic recruiting class, but it’s going to be a little while before all the superstar pickups can show what they can do. In the meantime, the Rebels have a terrific team returning even without Robert Nkemdiche and the rest of the big-time prospects. Nine starters are back on each side of the ball with four starters returning to a good looking offensive font and five returning to the defensive front six. Not only are there solid veteran starters in place across the board, but there’s plenty of depth and some great additions to the fun. Along with all the prepsters coming in later this summer, star linebacker D.T. Shackelford is back from a knee injury to join Mike Marry, Denzel Nkemdiche and Serderius Bryant to form a nasty unit. On the offensive side, almost all the skill players of note are back including playmaking receiver Donte Moncrief and leading rusher Jeff Scott.
| 2013 Schedule|
8/31 at Vanderbilt
9/7 SE Missouri
9/14 at Texas
9/21 OPEN DATE
9/28 at Alabama
10/5 at Auburn
10/12 Texas A&M
11/2 OPEN DATE
11/30 at Miss State
Why To Be Grouchy ... It would be nice to use spring ball to get everyone sharpened up as much as possible on offense for the summer, but quarterback Bo Wallace is out recovering from a collarbone injury. One of the key sparkplugs over the second half of the season, he needs as much time as possible to work on cutting down on his mistakes and interceptions, but this spring will be about Barry Brunetti and Maikhail Miller showing what they can do. Defensively, nine starters might be back and there’s plenty of excitement about the talent coming in, but co-defensive coordinator Wesley McGriff is a big loss. He was one of the key reasons for the improvement of the linebacking corps and was a player favorite, but now he’s off working for the New Orleans Saints.
What Needs Working On ... First and foremost, everyone has to work on tempering the enormous expectations. This is going to be one of the hot programs throughout the offseason, and it’ll get plenty of attention and press, but there are six huge problems: at Vanderbilt, at Texas, at Alabama, at Auburn, Texas A&M and LSU, and they all come in the first half of the season. Throw in dates with Arkansas, Missouri and a road trip against rival Mississippi State, and another 7-6 season probably can’t seen a disappointment. On the field, the special teams will need the most attention after losing kicker Bryson Rose, punters Jim Broadway and Tyler Campbell, and with work needing to be done on the SEC’s worst punt return game and third-worst kickoff return game.
Non-Conference Games: SE Missouri, at Texas, Idaho, Troy
Games Against The East: at Vanderbilt, Missouri
Realistic Best Case Record: 9-3
Worst Case Record: 4-8
Likely Finish: 6-6
Pre-Preseason Projected Wins: SE Missouri, Idaho, Arkansas, Texas A&M, Troy, Missouri
Pre-Preseason Projected Losses: at Vanderbilt, at Texas, at Alabama, at Auburn, LSU, at Mississippi State
Schedule Analysis: The excitement is sky high for the Rebels after a whopper of a recruiting class, but the first half of the season could quickly calm everyone down. Going to Vanderbilt will be a tone-setter to start the year, and SE Missouri will be a much-needed cupcake to get everything in place considering what’s coming up next.
The key will be surviving the first half of the year with four of the first five games on the road. After the battle with the RedHawks of SEMO, the Rebels have to go to Texas, get a week off, and then have to deal with dates at Alabama and Auburn. There’s a payoff, though; they don’t have to leave the state after October 5th and have a run of six straight home games before going to Mississippi State. Will that matter against Texas A&M and LSU? The schedule should ease up by the time November rolls around with Arkansas, Troy and Missouri coming to Vaught-Hemingway after an off week.
Team Concerns For 2013: The Rebels are young and getting more and more talented, especially with the big recruiting class coming in, but there's still plenty of work for Hugh Freeze to do. The offensive line has to be far better in pass protection, especially against the stronger SEC West defensive fronts. The special teams need plenty of work. Bryson Rose is gone after making 18-of-28 field goals, the punting game was awful, the punt return game was the worst in the SEC, and the kickoff returners had a rough year. Overall, the team just needs more playmakers, but they're emerging.
The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... Hugh Freeze brought in a terrific class of SEC talents. Ole Miss has had some nice recruiting classes in recent years, but this one should turn out to be special with quarterbacks Devante Kincade and Ryan Buchanan each good enough to have had their pick of most schools, while running backs Kailo Moore and Mark Dodson are speedsters who are perfect fits for the offense. Wide receiver Laquon Treadwell is one of the best recruits in the class, but JUCO defensive tackle Lavon Hooks and tight end Christian Morgan might not be far behind.
Of course, getting No. 1 overall recruit Robert Nkemdiche to star on the defensive front makes the class. The offensive line should be set with No. 1 offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil the big get and Austin Golson not far behind. If that wasn't enough, snagging star safety prospect Antonio Conner was from Florida State was the icing on the cake.
2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking:
65. That Class Was Heavy On ... The Rebels and new head coach Hugh Freeze have to find a passing game and an offense. It’s Ole Miss, so there’s always a national search for the tired, poor, and hungry quarterbacks yearning for playing time. JUCO transfer Bo Wallace will be in the mix right away, and after a few years of decent recruiting classes aimed at the skill positions – with last year’s class shining at receiver – the passing game has to be better.
2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking:
23. That Class Was Heavy On ... Receivers. Houston Nutt is known for his ground attacks and his ability to turn running backs into superstars, but this year’s class focused a bit more on the passing game with some surprising recruits. Nickolas Brassell could’ve gone anywhere and could immediately become the team’s No. 1 target, while Tobias Singleton and Donte Moncreif are fantastic prospects who should add more punch to the passing game. Who’s going to throw them the ball? JUCO transfer Zack Stoudt isn’t Jeremiah Masoli talent-wise, but he’s a big, strong bomber who’ll be in the mix for starting time right away.
2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 15. That Class Was
Heavy On ... Defensive
linemen. With the early loss of Jevan Snead, Ole
Miss needed options at quarterback and it got a
small, athletic playmaker in JUCO transfer Randall
Mackey. Vincent Sanders is a freshman receiver too
good to keep out of the mix early on, while the
defense got a big boost in the secondary with JUCO
transfer Damien Jackson a big, intimidating safety
and Tony Grimes a terrific corner prospect. The
defensive line should be terrific with an
outstanding mix of talents led by JUCO transfer
Wayne Dorsey, a very tall, very quick pass rusher
who would've been a key get for places like
Tennessee, Auburn, Michigan, and Florida State.
Carlton Martin and Bryon Bennett are the future at
defensive tackle, while Carlos Thomas and Delvin
Jones will eventually be the team's star pass
rushers with speed, size, and a world of upside for
2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 12. That Class Was
Heavy On ... skill players. This is a huge class with a little something for all the spots, but Houston Nutt and his staff mostly tried to get players to get the offense moving even more. Quarterback Raymond Cotton will get time to develop with Jevon Snead already under center, while running backs Darius Barksdale and Rodney Scott are just a few of the good prospects looking to shine in the Nutt system. Pat Patterson is a special receiver prospect, while Ja-Mes Logan and Montez Phillips have size and speed.