Let their guard down. . . took them lightly after a big halftime lead. . . bump in the road that can and will be fixed. . .aberration. . .
Then, a late flurry against Tulane swung the momentum around, helped get a win and took a tiny bit of the previous bad taste from our mouths.
Getting better. . . got some things worked out. . . played more like ourselves for a longer period of time. . . bad quarters happen. . . now we'll really tune in for conference play. . .
At 1-1 headed into a home game with that thorn in our side, Vanderbilt, Ole Miss was a double-digit favorite and had, we were told, an excellent week of practice.
Some kinks were worked out, confidence was high, and we would unleash some fury on Vandy.
Don't look now, but the Rebels - after a humbling 28-14 loss to Vanderbilt yesterday - are 1-2 and reeling. What we wanted to ignore in the first two games, turned into a reality.
Don't look now, but this is a team that simply is not making it happen, captain.
Don't look now, but the Rebs didn't deserve to win and aren't playing anywhere near winning football.
Don't look now, but something has to give or this could be a long, long season of heartbreak.
* If you were to ask anyone associated with the team who the two most sure-handed receivers are on the squad, nine out of 10 would say TB Brandon Bolden and TE Ferbia Allen, both possessors of excellent hands.
Don't look now, but both of them dropped wide-open, made-to-order, walk-in-the-park, sure-to-be touchdown passes. Inexplicably.
You could stand out there all day and throw those exact passes to B.B. and Ferb and they'd never drop one of equal ease. On this day, they did.
* The Rebel defense did some pretty good things on the day, overall, but they got gashed twice for TDs, once on an 80-yard run up the gut and once on a 35-yard run for their first score.
The defense is supposed to be the strength of the team and the strength of the defense is supposed to be up the middle. The 80-yarder was right up the pipe, as up the middle as up the middle can get. At the worst possible time in the game, with momentum swung toward the Rebels. Unexplainable.
* QB Jeremiah Masoli - with the lack of protection he got and the pass drops - had very little help on what could have been a big day for him, but Jeremiah, and Jeremiah alone, was responsible for the pick six he threw. The ball was late being delivered and off-target. Recipe for disaster.
That's not what you expect from a veteran quarterback in a situation where there was no pressure involved. Everyone is entitled to one, but that was indeed a brain lock.
* Special teams also had a mysterious day with a missed chippie field goal and losing the field position tug-of-war in the punting game. theirs penned our guys up; ours kicked it in the end zone for touchbacks. Not a huge deal, but it's the little things that matter and add up in the long run.
* On short-yardage situations, on several occasions, the middle of the OL got blown up. Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. That's not winning football by any stretch of the imagination and to search for an excuse for that, if one would be inclined, is ridiculous.
Being young does not have to equate to being manhandled on straightforward plays, which our guys were several times.
* Still in the game, the Rebs fumbled deep in Ole Miss territory. There has never been a running back in the history of the sport who has not fumbled. It happens to all of them, sooner or later, but there probably could not have been a more inopportune time for that miscue. We had already given Vandy the cake. Apparently that wasn't enough. We gave them the icing too.
* To add insult to injury, even the $6 million video board crapped out late in the game. One of those days.
The bottom line is the Rebs got whipped. Yes, they whipped themselves too, but Vandy made the plays that were there to be made, the Rebels didn't. Plain and simple, as painful as that is to regurgitate.
There is no magic answer.
But one thing is obvious. There is something out of whack on this squad.
One can see effort, but one sees little fire.
One can see desire, but not a winning intensity.
One can see an edge, in streaks, but not a sharp one.
One can see confidence, at times, but not a swagger.
The Rebels are out of sync and something has to happen to flip that around.
Back to the drawing board.
Houston Nutt, his staff and the Rebels have their work cut out for them, and then some.