Kennedy, Rebs already look ahead to Alabama

Ole Miss fans were frustrated with the loss at South Carolina. So was Andy Kennedy.

At times on radio after the game, he sounded almost as much fan as coach. But what he really sounded like was a coach who isn't afraid to say what he thinks.

He even used one of my old lines. Not that he got it from me. I think when you're here you just understand.

"We are not going to be successful at Ole Miss if we're not all on the same page," he said.

Andy may have only been talking about his team this season. Then again, he may have been talking about what he has already experienced in his short time at Ole Miss. Everybody being on the same page gives Ole Miss a better chance to win in whatever it is competing. Otherwise it's tough.

Most people know that. But with the frustration that comes with losing, it doesn't make actually accomplishing that "same page" thing a simple task.

"I was very disappointed in our approach," he said of his team after the USC contest.

As he continued to express his frustration, he then gave us something to hang our collective hats on.

"But we still control our own destiny," he said as the Rebels look to Alabama and Wednesday night's game in Tuscaloosa.

The Rebels are 7-7 in Southeastern Conference play and tied for first place with Mississippi State in the SEC West. Overall the Rebels stand at 18-10 with two regular season games left. Auburn comes to Oxford Saturday.

Then, on radio again, more Kennedy truths came out.

"I want these kids to experience success," he said, "and I want them to experience success now."

He says he knows the years ahead for this program will be better.

"I've got no doubts about the future of this program," he said emphatically.

So while there is an important home game against Auburn in a week to celebrate a season of many highs and the careers of three special seniors in Todd, Bam, and Clay, Wednesday night at Coleman Coliseum looms as the biggest game of them all so far this season.

The Rebels should head to Tuscaloosa feeling pretty good about at least a couple of things. One, the Crimson Tide isn't invincible at home. Auburn proved that Saturday and Arkansas proved it earlier.

Two, they need only to look back at last season to their one and only SEC road win – a 71-61 UM victory at Alabama.

So the Crimson Tide can be beaten at home, and last season the Rebels got it done.

But none of that will have as much bearing on the outcome of the next game as will preparation, mental approach, and execution.

With only one SEC road win this season, and that was the 82-59 romp over Auburn, the Rebels have to find a way to win the only one they've got left if they want to stay alive for an NCAA bid. Otherwise, they may have to do something really special, like get to the SEC Tournament finals, to have a legitimate shot, even with a win over Auburn at home Saturday.

If Andy Kennedy told us anything on the radio after his team's latest game, it was not only what he said but how he said it.

Clearly he still believes the Rebels can win Wednesday night on the SEC road. He's just got to make sure to convince his players to feel that same way. Get them to believe again. Coach 'em up and give it all they've got to experience the success he wants, they want, and you want.

Without a doubt, he's just the man who can do all that.

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