One man's opinion

If I really believed my mother's admonition that if you can't say something nice about someone don't say anything at all, the rest of this column would be a blank page. Read about it inside.

If I really believed my mother's admonition that if you can't say something nice about someone don't say anything at all, the rest of this column would be a blank page.

In nearly 50 years of watching Ole Miss play football I have seen only a few games in which the Rebel's offense was as inept as they were against LSU. To use the word's inept is being kind.

With all due respect to the two who played the QB position against the Tigers, their performance made it obvious that need No. 1 during this recruiting season is to find someone who can be a threat under center. Spurlock, Flatt and Lane all had their shots at the job this season. All of them failed to impress.

Right behind looking for a QB is the need to find a running back. The Rebel ground game is more of a retreat than an attack. Larry Kendrick who started at RB is quoted post game as saying "We just didn't play like we know we can. We were ready to go tonight but just couldn't get going on offense."

That is pure rationalization. This team has had 10 games to show us they know they can run the ball and they are literally 0 for 10. It isn't just that they couldn't get going against LSU. When you're 3-7 for the season find a game in which the Rebels ran the ball "like they know they can."

Coach Ed Orgeron was more realistic. He said Ole Miss won't be able to have an offense until they get better at the line of scrimmage.

"We know we have to get bigger, stronger, faster and more physical to play a team like LSU," Orgeron said. "We have a ways to go to catch up with LSU."

He's right. The Rebel offensive line was a bunch of boys playing against LSU"s men.

Against our defense which has been our pride and joy until the Tigers came to town, LSU opened holes that they could have walked through hand in hand with their sisters and gained yardage.

As for the Ole Miss pass defense you'd have thought LSU's receivers had a communicable disease of some kind. The Rebel secondary appeared to have been told to stay away from them so they didn't catch whatever the disease might have been.

In the third quarter the visitors face third and 20, an obvious passing situation to everyone in the stadium. Except apparently the Rebels who let the Tigers complete one for 30 yards with little opposition and keep their drive going.

Orgeron acknowledged that as well. "We got beat deep again," he said later. No doubt about it.

As for LSU head coach Les Miles his post game comment was on target as well.

"We played a great game," he said. "Our offense, defense and special teams complimented each other. We did what we had to do tonight. Our defense and our offense played great. We have some guys out there opponents should be afraid of and it is an honor to be out there with them."

Games like this one are more than just a win/lose proposition. Over 59,000 fans came out on this really cold night because they love the Rebels and they hoped to see a competitive game. We left at the end of the third quarter and had to fight our way through the crowd pouring out of the stadium and the comments we heard were not pretty.

College football is the entertainment business and people, much as they love the Rebels, are not going to pay $42 for a ticket to watch a performance like the one last Saturday. The situation is serious now, but if the quality of play doesn't perk up next year the athletic department won't have to worry about sellouts. There will be plenty of seats for everyone. Ten thousand empty seats times $42 means the school's athletic budget will take a real hit.

Which brings up the subject of this week's Mississippi State game. Am I worried about it? You bet your sweet biffy I am. I have a definite feeling that the Bulldogs are concentrating on how to win it and the Rebels are likely worrying about how not to lose it.

With all the problems the Dogs have had this year, a victory over Ole Miss will ease the pain and make it a successful year as far as they are concerned.

As for Ole Miss, to lose to State and finish 3-8 would be a step worse than last year's 4-7 and that's something no one expected. This is an attitude game. The team that wants it the most will win it and salvage a small amount of satisfaction in the process.

And after that? Recruiting. I nosed around last Saturday with people who are knowledgeable about the situation and they expressed confidence Orgeron will be able to recruit well. One of them said recruiting is his strong point and they expect him to show that in the months ahead.

But don't expect instant miracles. The Ole Miss situation cannot be cured in one recruiting season. Two, maybe, but not one. The fans will forgive 2005 if the new coach can sign talent that will give the Rebs a step toward future respectability. I'm convinced he can. Bigger, stronger faster. They're out there. Now it's Orgeron's job to find them and convince them that their future and Ole Miss's are one and the same.

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