Waiting, Waiting. . . And Then

ATLANTA, Ga. - It took the Ole Miss offense a while, nearly three quarters, to get in gear, but when they did, it was lights out for Boise State in a 35-13 Rebel victory.

Everyone in the Georgia Dome waited and waited and waited.

Sooner or later, the prevailing thought was, the Ole Miss offense would quit shooting itself in the foot and pour it on Boise State in the season opener.

For roughly three quarters, it went like this for the Rebel offense - not necessarily in chronological order. . .

False start. . . interception. . . false start. . . false start. . . interception. . . failure in the Red Zone. . . inability to convert third and fourth and short. . . false start. . . false start. . . interception. . . and on and on.

"We were awful, hard to watch," said Coach Hugh Freeze on the Reb offense. "We had way too many penalties, we were out of sync and we threw some unbelievable interceptions. We really have to evaluate what we are doing, starting with our coaching.


Ole Miss DB Tony Conner.


"We were behind the chains for at least two and a half quarters. Finally, we started making some plays, but that was ugly offensive football for a long time."

The interceptions baffled Freeze.

"Bo (Wallace)will be the first to tell you he made two throws none of us could believe, including him. The receivers he threw to weren't even in his progressions," Freeze noted. "They were committing so many guys to the run that we had plenty of chances to make some plays, but we just didn't see them for a while."

Finally, after patient waiting turned to 'come on, guys!' the Rebs exploded.

Wallace, who threw those picks in the first half, finally started throwing it to the guys in Red.

TD pass to Laquon Treadwell, TD pass to Quincy Adeboyejo, TD pass to Cody Core (his second TD reception of the game) and then a burst by TB Mark Dodson to ice the game for god.

The offensive line finally stopped jumping offsides.

The offense finally started showing a semblance of a running game.

"To the offense's credit, they did end up scoring 35 points and they did start playing much, much better," Freeze added.

Offensively, all is well that ends well, or is it?

Tonight's offense looked out of sync and out of sorts for much of the game. A hair off here, a hair off there, a whole bunch off at other times.


Ole Miss QB Bo Wallace.


The bottom line is that there is much work to be done before next Saturday when the Rebels open SEC play in Nashville against Vanderbilt.

Although they ended up with over 400 yards in total offense, it was mostly from the quick-strike variety and mostly after the Boise defense had worn down.

For the Rebels to be successful this season, they will have to play with a lot more rhythm and consistency for four quarters.

"We have an awful lot to correct" is the matter of fact way Freeze put it.

Agreed.

Meanwhile, the Rebel defense was more than stellar, playing superbly in the Red Zone, getting four interceptions and generally controlling a pretty good Boise run game.

The overall grade for Dave Wommack's stoppers was high, despite giving up a late TD.

On this night, the defense was everything advertised. While the offense was self-destructing, the defense kept the Rebels in the game.

Time after time after time.

"I don't know what we would have done if the defense hadn't been playing well," Freeze allowed. "They were really good in Red Zone defense the first half, really good, against a good offense that gives you a lot of looks.

"We bent some, but we did not break, and that allowed the offense to finally get in a rhythm and to take over the game. The defense controlled it throughout though."

Wommack played a lot of players, showing confidence in at least a two-deep, at some positions more.


Ole Miss DB Cody Prewitt.


A lot of Rebel defenders got a lot of snaps and, for the most part, all performed as expected.

The special teams were solid, with extra kudos to Punter Will Gleeson, who had a heckuva debut.

While the offense left a lot to be desired for about 45 minutes, the last 15 minutes showed what they can be. Quick-strike, big-play ability is an asset.

Now, staying ahead of the chains and limiting penalties is the next step in their evolution. Wallace also has to be more careful, but nobody knows that more than him.

The Rebels came to the Georgia Dome to win. They did that - mission accomplished.

But Hugh Freeze and this coaching staff will be the first to tell you that it's back to the drawing board, back to work. There's a lot to be done.

Regardless, the Rebs are 1-0. In some ways, it was a shaky 1-0, but 1-0 is 1-0.

Next. . . the waiting, for now, is over.


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