Adams looks to continue improvement

Seth Adams walked into the team meeting room and sat down in the front row. Ole Miss had lost to Missouri 38-25. Several media members gathered ‘round him.

For the second game in a row, the journeyman senior quarterback from Holly Springs had performed admirably, and that word might be a bit of an understatement to assess his play, all things considered.

His passes were mostly crisp and on target against the visitors from the Big 12 Conference. No, 23-of-41 isn't perfect, but he made only a few what might be considered bad throws.

He's 42-of-71 for 506 yards and four touchdowns so far this season with a lone interception coming late against Mizzou. It virtually ended the Rebs' chances of victory. But the hole they'd dug early was deep. Seth and his teammates couldn't dig all the way back out.

The 6-foot-4, 225-pounder passed for 305 yards and three touchdowns against the Tigers and looked comfortable and confident doing so.

Some have already compared him in some ways to John Darnell or Stewart Patridge. They were both senior quarterbacks who hadn't played a whole lot of Division I-A college football when they led Ole Miss to memorable bowl seasons in 1989 and 1997 respectively. Theirs were teams that weren't necessarily expected to do all that much. Both won eight games and moved the program to a level it hadn't achieved the previous few seasons.

Sure, that's getting a bit ahead at this point, comparing those two years to this one, those two quarterbacks and the job they did to Adams. There's way too much football to be played. The Rebels are 1-1 and have up next what could be a season-turner.

Things won't be over if they lose to Vandy. They won't for sure be on their way if they win.

Let's just say it's a big game, since it's the SEC opener and it's on the road. Get to 2-1 and you've got a fighting chance. At 1-2, Florida and Georgia the following two weeks and the remainder of teams ahead look a bit more ominous. The swagger likely won't be as apparent on the Grove Walk prior to the matchup with the Gators without a win over the Commodores.

Seth isn't looking ahead, not past Vandy at least. He's not patting himself on the back for a couple of good performances that have proven he's capable. He says he's going back to work today to try to help his team win another game this weekend.

The Rebel offense didn't get on track until the third quarter against Missouri. By then the Tigers led 35-7. There's that big hole. Yes, as it turned out, it was too big. But that didn't deter the Rebs and one of their important leaders.

"Our guys never quit," Adams said, mentioning the positive running game production in this one as well. "We battled to the end for four quarters. We came back and had a chance to win it there in the fourth quarter."

Against a team like Missouri, picked to win the north division of the Big 12 by most, maybe all the Rebs can ask for at this point is a chance to win it at the end. Last year they got some chances like that and didn't capitalize on most.

The theme all summer and fall has been about trying to change that. "Finish." Seth showed he has a shot to help the Rebs finish those games this time around, like throwing the deep ball and being successful. There are those who had questioned whether he could do so effectively.

"That felt great," he said of letting it fly deep, but followed that statement up by making sure he didn't take all the credit for those plays. "We know we can do it. Our receivers ran good routes. The line does a great job. It's great for our offense."

An offense that didn't do much early in this one.

"It was frustrating early," said Seth. "I just tried to forget about the bad plays. We were a little flat on offense, but we came back and battled. That's the making of a good team. I'm proud of our guys and the way we fought. The offensive line did a great job. The receivers made some bigtime catches out there."

Ole Miss head coach Ed Orgeron was asked about Seth's arm strength and deep balls. He smiled and joked with the questioner.

"Yeah. That's the one I didn't let y'all see at practice," he said, drawing laughter from many in the room. "His deep ball throwing ability kinda surprised me, too. This was a good night for him, and he's coming into his own. He's getting more confidence out there. He's poised as heck. He's making good decisions, so hopefully he can continue to improve."

Offensive coordinator Dan Werner liked what he saw from Seth, the way he handled the game, made decisions, and carried them out.

"I thought Seth did a real nice job," he said. "He took what Missouri gave him. They were playing way off our receivers early, so he took the underneath throws. Then they started biting up some in the second half, tightening up their coverages, so he threw it over the top. The bomb to Mike Wallace was an audible. We had talked at the half that if Missouri continued to bring their coverage in, to check to a deep ball, give the defender a pump fake and let it fly. He threw a beautiful ball. He threw two or three excellent medium-to-long balls. That will help us in the long haul. Defenses will have to respect that part of our game now, I believe."

Seth, confident, straight-forward, and sure with his comments, believes things have only begun for this team. There's more confidence now, even after a loss.

"We can definitely build on it," he said. "We had some mistakes, obviously in the first half. I can't take that sack in the two-minute like I did. That's something for me to learn from. I know better than that. It shouldn't have happened."

Seth continues to learn. He continues to study and evaluate. He continues to become a leader for this team, much like the two former signal-callers mentioned earlier did for their teams.

Time will tell if this season turns out positive like those.

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