If there has been one thing Ole Miss could count on this season, it's that the wide receivers would do their part to help the team win. . . .
. . . up until last Saturday night, that is.
In Nashville, the Rebel wideouts had a game that baffled all Ole Miss fans - they dropped the ball, repeatedly - Coach Hugh Freeze said "10-12" times in his Monday press conference. It seemed like 100.
"We just had an off game. I can't explain it," said redshirt freshman WR Van Jefferson. "We will regroup. We will work hard this week, have fun, play together and get it done. We will go about things like we always do and not worry ab out last Saturday."
Jefferson was asked if dropping passes was contagious.
"It was just a lack of focus. We were not seeing the ball into our hands, looking it all the way in, and it wasn't just one of us," he continued. "Like I said, we will get back to the details and come out ready to play Saturday."
One thought was the change in quarterbacks. When hard-throwing Chad Kelly went down and Shea Patterson took over, was there a difference in the passes that the receivers had to adjust to?
"They are different, but Shea throws a real catchable ball. He's doing a great job," noted Jefferson. "When he extends the plays by scrambling like he does, we have to be on our toes and work harder to get open because he is wanting to pass the ball. When Chad scrambled, he was usually going to just tuck and run with it, so it's different in that respect.
"The velocity is about the same. There isn't much difference there. We just have to do our job and catch it, no excuses like that."
Van said working with Shea through the year, even back to last summer, helped the transition from Kelly to Patterson.
"We've all taken a lot of throws from Shea," he said. "We've got a good connection."
Now, Mississippi State and the Egg Bowl, Van's first as he didn't even travel to Starkville last year.
"This is a big game. We are playing for the seniors, so that is exciting, and then there are a bunch of us who have never played in an Egg Bowl who will be really excited to taste what it's like," said Van. "But the main thing is to get this win for the seniors.
"We know from talking to the older guys and listening to Coach Freeze how important this game is. There has been nothing left unsaid about this game. I'm already excited and I can't wait to get after it."
Van respects Mississippi State's secondary despite them being last in the SEC in pass defense efficiency and near the bottom in total defense.
"Look, they are an SEC defense. I don;t care what their rank is," Van stated. "We know we still have to take care of business and play a good game. We have to get back to where we were before Vanderbilt and play like we know we are capable of playing. Last week was a fluke."
The Rebel wideouts had a rough week last week and it was proven, even though it certainly was only a fraction their fault for the loss, that Ole Miss can't win without them.
Van Jefferson expects them back to form Saturday when MSU comes to town.