Rebs Inexperienced for 2001

2001 Season Preview: Arkansas plays the Ole Miss Rebels at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford on November 3rd in the eighth game of the 2001 season. The Rebs return only 12 scholarship seniors and are picked to finish at or near the bottom of the tough SEC West. Head Coach David Cutcliffe appears to have his work cut out for him this season in attempting to lead the Rebs to their fifth-straight bowl game.

Much-hyped sophomore quarterback Eli Manning will lead the offense. Manning threw for three touchdowns in the fourth quarter in Mississippi's loss to West Virginia in the 2000 Music City Bowl. He understands the system but saw limited playing time behind starter Romero Miller. Up front, the offensive line is anchored by All-SEC left tackle Terrence Metcalf.
 
Quick Glance: Ole Miss Rebels
Official Ole Miss Football | Rebel Headlines
Coach: David Cutcliffe - 16-9, 2 Years (at Ole Miss & Overall)
2001 Roster | 2001 Depth Chart | 2001 Schedule
2000 Season: 7-5 Overall, 4-4 SEC (T-3rd West)
Returning Starters: 7 Offense, 5 Defense

At tailback, senior Joe Gunn and junior Robert Williams look to fill the shoes of talented Deuce McAllister. The receivers are experienced with returnees Omar Rayford and Chris Collins.
 
Defense appears to be the weakness for the Rebels in 2001. They are small and inexperienced. New defensive coordinator Don Lindsey looks to rely on quickness to offset the lack of big playmakers up front. Eddie Strong will need to come back from an injury-plagued 2000 season to lead the young defense. "Man, it was good to be back on the field," the junior from Batesville said. "I'm 100 percent healed, and I'm just excited to be here learning the defense and getting ready. Football is fun again." Read Article
 
Senior tackle Anthony Sims will also need help up front where the Rebs are thin. The punter and kicker are new and that could be the difference in the SEC West race where a razor-thin margin of error exists. Ole Miss is riding a four-year streak of bowl game appearances. Inexperience and the typical brutal SEC schedule may conspire to snap that streak.
 
Last season, Ole Miss defeated the Razorbacks 38-24 in Fayetteville. Fred Talley scored two touchdowns, including a 69-yard run in the fourth quarter. He had 214 yards on 29 carries. This year, Arkansas needs a win in Oxford to remain in the hunt for an SEC West title.

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