Published August 26, 2010 - 8:47am
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Ole Miss opens the 2010 season against the Jacksonville State Gamecocks. Ole Miss, which saw its record at 9-4 last year overall and 4-4 in the SEC, will try to replace its main offensive weapons this year in Oxford. Here are five things you need to know about Ole Miss vs. Jacksonville State:
1. Jeremiah Masoli has yet to be officially cleared to play in the opener. As we all know, Masoli transferred from defending Pac 10 champion Oregon this year upon being dismissed from the Duck’s team. University of Mississippi sent a request for a waiver of a one-year residency requirement for a transfer student a few weeks ago to get Masoli eligible as quick as possible. This waiver is usually granted if an athlete enrolls in a different graduate school program that was offered at the previous school. It will be interesting to see if Masoli can get cleared to play in time for the opener and just how he will fair this year in a different colored uniform. The worst that can happen will be if Masoli has to sit this year out and play next year.
2. The ever-evolving Wild Rebel will have its challenges this year. Houston Nutt pretty much coined the term “Wild Cat” as we know it while at Arkansas and it seems to be evolving every year to expand on its revolutionary offensive tendency to create mismatches. The NFL even seems to be toying with its type. The Wild Rebel features both a ground and an air attack on its’ resume. With Dexter McCluster being gone, which Rebel will step up and make this system a weapon for Nutt once again?
3. With Jevan Snead foolishly opting out early for the draft and Dexter McCluster and Shay Hodge actually being drafted, the Rebels will have to replace their offensive attack. Ole Miss currently has an opening at the running back position, and it has turned into a three-man race with Brandon Bolden, Enrique Davis, and Rodney Scott all vying for the open slot. Jacksonville State’s rushing defense was ranked 66th in Football Championship Subdivision last season. The Rebels will find some peace in the run game, at least for this one.
4. The opening at the quarterback position is figured to be a two-man rotation until one successfully separates them self from the rest. Last year, Jevan Snead spearheaded the offensive attack with 20 interceptions. The Rebels’ passing attack was ranked 57th in the country at 218 yards per game, and Snead did not live up to the hype. Snead had the attention much like Ryan Mallett is getting this year as far as passing quarterbacks. The two quarter backs figured to be in the rotation this year are Nathan Stanley and Jeremiah Masoli, assuming Masoli will be cleared to play.
5. The defensive unit is figured to be quick and disruptive. In 2009, Ole Miss was ranked 21st overall and 4th in the conference in total defense. It starts up front with defensive tackle Jerrell Powe and defensive end Kentrell Lockett. A solid line-backing core will be the second level of defense behind the line. The secondary has some holes, but are figured to be ready to go. The defense should keep the Rebels in every game.