By PST Contributor: Des Boodram
August 13th, 2016
Say want you want about the Ole’ Miss Rebels this season, but one thing you can expect is that the team from Oxford will be scrambling all season long. A threat to start conference play 0-4 the Rebels could be 1-3 by the end of the fourth week of the season, starting with FSU, Alabama, and Georgia.
It’s a certainty that the Rebels likely envisioned having a better roster to face off against FSU when they schedule them years ago. Although a win is desperately needed it shouldn’t be expected, leaving the Rebels to reminisce on what could’ve been had they not lost so much talent in the 2016 NFL draft.
Ole Miss is going to fall victim to a perfect storm of an impossible schedule falling in their lap at the same time athlete turnover is as bad as it has been in years. Hugh Freeze who has been sensational in his time at the University of Mississippi should not be faulted for how this season turns out as he has an inordinate amount of on-field personnel issues to sort through.
In QB Kelly we Trust?
Offensively the Rebels still have QB Chad Kelly, so that’s good. The question is, with Laquon Treadwell (one of three 2016 Rebels to go in the first round) playing on Sundays, who will catch the ball. The coaching staff is confident one of the several WRs coming up will step up, but that’s still to be determined.
An even bigger question is with Laremy Tunsil also playing on Sundays, who’s going to protect Kelly?
The staff is high on Greg Little who hopefully doesn’t take his last name literally, and will count on him to be a difference maker a freshmen… that’s scary.
Defensively, replacing Robert Nkemdiche is a tall order, but the Rebels, have several rising athletes they have confidence in.
Marquis Haynes was a sack machine last season as a sophomore, and if he can match last season’s output over the next two seasons, or crush it this season, he will be a first rounder in 2017. The Rebels have quite a few players to replace, but those growing pains should be offset by their stellar recruiting class.
As eluded to earlier, brining in so many new players and then rolling them out against the likes of FSU, Alabama and Georgia is risky business, that likely puts them behind the eight ball to start the season.
Silver Lining Finish?
With certain losses to Alabama and Georgia at home to start conference play, the Rebels than have to travel to face a much improved Arkansas team followed by a trip to Baton Rouge to face LSU.
That’s just a tough draw no matter how you cook it and makes matchups versus Auburn, and Texas A&M virtually meaningless. The silver lining may very well be a bowl eligible team that needs the extra practice that Bowl games present… especially in a bit of a down year. 7-5 should be expected, but it should be noted, that they do travel to Arkansas after their off-week, so may be able pull something off.
An additional win still won’t make much of difference however in this competitive SEC West.