Music City Blues

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Ole Miss offense never got on track at Vanderbilt in a 30-7 loss. The Rebels struggled all day long to get anything going. And never did.

"It's shocking. This right here was really, really shocking. I don't know what to say," said wide receiver Ja-Mes Logan, who caught three passes for 48 yards in the game.

And so it went. Nobody really knew much of what to say. Last week's practice shouldn't have left anybody speechless, according to players and coaches alike.

"We had a really good week of practice," said quarterback Zack Stoudt, who was 13 of 26 with one touchdown and five interceptions. "I thought it was going to look a lot more crisp and clean than it did today. It started right off with that first interception I threw. I think we need to respond better to adversity and mistakes, and we didn't do that today."

What they did today was nothing resembling a competitive Southeastern Conference football team.

So are there answers to the Rebels' woes?

"Yeah we got answers. We just didn't execute our answers," Stoudt said. "There were a lot of mistakes we have to work on next week, but we're not giving up. We're going to keep our heads up and see how we respond next week."

Stoudt said opportunities were there, but the Rebels didn't take advantage of them.

"My first interception was a touchdown (for Ole Miss)," Stoudt said of a pass he underthrew to Logan that was intercepted by Sean Richardson. "Yeah, a lot of missed opportunities, missed assignments."

Zack Stoudt
Bruce Newman

Logan said even down 21-0 at intermission, the Rebels felt they had a good chance to win the game.

"At halftime we weren't stunned at all," he said. "We were thinking in our minds to come back out here and not let them score no more and us put up more points than they did."

Stoudt agreed that the Rebels were still in it at halftime, if only they could come out and get something done.

"I just think we needed to relax," said Stoudt, making his second start of the year. "We got the ball back to start the third quarter. But I think we were all just pressing too hard and trying to make too much happen and we kept making more mistakes."

Offensive coordinator David Lee said he believes he has given the Rebel players on offense too much to handle.

"Somehow it comes back to me because I've confused our players," Lee said. "We've struggled lining up, and that starts with me. It's with me. I have to do a better job of making sure our guys know what they are doing. Simpler. I've overloaded them obviously. We've lost our aggressiveness and the ability to know where we're going. They are thinking too much. That's on me."

Stoudt disagreed that the players are overloaded.

"No. Not at all. Keep it coming. No," he said, obviously emphatically. "He hasn't given us too much at all. We know what we're doing. We just didn't execute on it fully."

Stoudt said he couldn't necessarily say if Lee was simply protecting his players.

"Ahhhh, I don't know, maybe. I don't know maybe who he's speaking for," Stoudt said. "I don't think we have too much in the gameplan. I just think we need to execute it."

The Rebels had a number of offensive penalties and had to use timeouts at inopportune times – like after a TV timeout on at least one occasion when failing to line up properly.

"That only happened a couple of times, and that was just some miscues with the wrist card and stuff like that," Stoud said. "I don't think that was any personal problem that people had getting the play right."

The offensive line play hasn't given the offense what most observers thought it would this season. Stoudt said it's been a mixed bag as to whether he has enough time to get things done. But he points the finger at only himself.

"Sometimes. Sometimes not," he said of ample time to accomplish what he and the offense set out to do on a particular play. "Sometimes I had enough and didn't do anything with it. Sometimes we had something and didn't have enough time to throw it off. It was all over the field. It was everybody. But it starts with me."

And it ends with trying to improve as a team.

Brandon Bolden
Bruce Newman

"I really don't know. I really don't know what to say about this game," Logan said. "Gotta lotta work to do."

Bolden Returns:

Senior running back Brandon Bolden returned from a slight fracture in his foot/ankle Saturday at Vanderbilt, finishing the game with 39 yards on eight carries. He also had two receptions for 20 yards.

But the return of a senior captain and one of the team's few play-makers was far from enough. Ole Miss was dominated by Vanderbilt in Nashville, and Bolden and his fellow running backs were helpless behind a struggling offensive line.

"It's tough. We lost. We lost big," he said. "It hurt everybody, and it should. It should almost be like an eye-opener that we need to work harder. That's pretty much what it was. Everybody understands that we have a lot more work to do. That's pretty much the attitude of the team right now."

Ole Miss has now lost nine of its last 10 SEC games. The Rebels were 1-7 in conference play last season, and have now lost 17 of their last 19 conference openers.

"Just go out there and lead by example," Bolden said, when asked how he can lead a team off to yet another bad start. "Show everybody that one loss doesn't affect the entire season. We just got to go out there and go back to work. That's something we're going to have to do, whether we like it or not.

"Just going back to work. Try to correct everything we did wrong. Everything did we right, try to make it better. Tomorrow, going back in to work. We gotta draw it up, see what we did wrong. It's basically putting your hard hat back on and making all the corrections possible."

Bolden said he feels fine physically, though he did cramp up towards the end of the game. He and his teammates have a tough row to hoe now. Bolden admitted as much. Ole Miss returns home to face Georgia next week.

"I don't think anybody saw something like that happening at all," he said. "Everybody saw it as shocking. It's just something you've got to work at. You don't want it to happen again, so it's something you've got to correct."

Bolden said the team hasn't lost its confidence, despite the blowout loss.

"Confidence is going to be there regardless, whether we win or lose," he said. "It's just something you have to have about you. I'm pretty sure my teammates and myself, we have a pretty good confidence that we can go out there and play with anybody."

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