Published July 15, 2011 - 10:45am
NEW: Discuss this topic in the Google+ community for SEC fans.
Saturday Down South will be looking at the SEC title chances for every team in the conference and giving three reasons for and three reasons against every team winning the SEC Championship come December…in alphabetical order of course.
Ole Miss Rebels
Three Reasons Why
1. Brandon Bolden – Brandon Bolden gets lost in the line of great running backs in the SEC for 2011. Bolden is the returning starter, and he rushed for 976 yards and 14 touchdowns, including a 228-yard, two-touchdown performance against Fresno State. Bolden looks to be ready to have an impressive senior season in Oxford. He will have to be this team’s offensive leader. Bolden can also hit you with the passing game. He caught 32 passes for 344 yards and three touchdowns a year ago.
2. Offensive Line – The Rebels do have a stable and talented offensive line. Last year, the Rebels ranked 1st in the SEC in sacks allowed, and they finished 19th overall in the country in that department. So, there is a staple to this offense. Run the football! Bradley Sowell and Bobby Massie are the leaders of this unit, and both play left and right tackle respectively. If Ole Miss has any shot at all this year to win the SEC, it will have to be done by running the football.
3. Kentrell Lockett – Kentrell Lockett returns from a year ago in which he got hurt in the fourth game of the year. The NCAA granted Lockett a sixth year of eligibility. This defense needs leadership, and it needs difference makers. During Lockett’s on the field presence, this defense held offenses to 113.5 yards rushing per game. Without Lockett, teams averaged 172 yards per game. If Kentrell can stay healthy, he will give this defense some leadership.
Three Reasons Why Not
1. Defense – This defense was ranked second to last in 2010 behind only Vanderbilt, and the Commodores beat the Rebels in Oxford. Ole Miss gave up an average of 400 yards of total offense per game, which was also second to last in the league. Ole Miss lists five returning starters from a year ago; however, only one – cornerback Marcus Temple – started more than eight games. The defense is the biggest reason why Ole Miss will not win an SEC Championship.
2. Too Young – The Rebels will be playing a ton of freshman in 2011. They do have talent, but they are really young. Defensive back Senquez Golson, linebacker CJ Johnson, and receivers Nickolas Brassell, Donte Moncrief and Tobias Singleton will all have to step in and play right away. This is a great opportunity for the nucleus of this football team to gel together and start right away for the freshmen. However, when you do start this many freshmen, things are bound to go wrong.
3. Quarterback Play – Is Randall Mackey the guy to lead this football team? The coaching staff seems to think so. However, backup Barry Brunetti could be the answer. Jeremiah Masoli was supposed to step in during one season and be a difference maker. He was not ineffective against SEC defenses. Now, they are virtually asking Mackey to do the same thing. If Mackey is not the quarterback everyone seems to think he is, it could be another long year for this team.