Rested and Ready

Jeremiah Masoli joined the rest of his teammates with an open date last week. It was the first real breath the first-year senior Rebel has gotten to catch since a whirlwind of activity surrounding his arrival back in August.

There have been five games, not all of them going according to plan. But now a stretch run of seven games commences with Saturday night's contest at Alabama. The starting quarterback of the Rebels said the open date was welcomed.

"It was great for us," said Masoli, who has started the Rebs' last four games, three of them UM victories. "Physically, I really think it helped us to heal up and get everybody's legs fresh again right in the middle of the season, right before we go through this stretch. Mentally we got to work on some extra things."

Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt said since the Rebels' win against Kentucky weekend before last that his team needed an open date in the worst way. He reiterated that this week.

Masoli, UM offense have been productive

"In our case, we needed it because we have never had this many concussions and injuries," he said at his Monday press conference. "We had a lot of things happening, so we needed it. It came at a really good time for us. Each team is different, but I'm glad we had a bye week."

Masoli appears to be getting more comfortable with each game. The Rebel offense has certainly responded, putting up 187 points through five games, the most points to open a season through five games since 1935.

Personally, the 5-foot-11, 220-pounder has put up some nice numbers. Against Fresno State two games ago, he was 8 for 12 passing for 153 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. He also rushed eight times for 59 yards against the Bulldogs as the Rebels won 55-38.

In the 42-35 win against Kentucky, Masoli was 9 for 17 for 90 yards and three touchdowns, while rushing nine times for 43 yards and one score.

But Masoli admitted the Rebels haven't seen a defense like they'll see Saturday night.

"They're real physical. They're real fast. Everything you like in a defense, they've got it," he said. "So it's going to be a real challenge for us."

But Masoli says the Ole Miss offense indeed continues to improve. He feels like they are ready to step up to the next challenge, which is a huge one.

"For us, we've got to execute our game plan," the former Oregon quarterback said. "Our coaches have developed a great game plan against them. It's up to guys like me, Melvin (Harris), and Markeith (Summers) to execute those passing plays when they're in there with them."

Whether it's the passing game or the running game, Masoli said he understands how big the test will be, even with Alabama suffering its first loss in two seasons 35-21 last Saturday at South Carolina.

"Anytime you go against the top dog in the conference, it definitely is a big test," he said. "We're looking forward to it."

OM Spirit Top Stories