When you got out your schedule card prior to the season and did the "predicting game," what did you have the Rebels after three games?
I said 2-1 with an outside shot of 3-0, or else. As in, if it's worse than 2-1 it has the makings to be a long season.
Well, guess what? We ain't 2-1. We are 1-2 and the "or else" in the form of the Florida Gators is staring us straight in the face.
Not what many Rebs envisioned heading into the campaign. (Only the grumpy pants, as my youngest daughter says, ones.)
But it's what we - the team, coaches, trainers, managers, administrators and fans - have got.
The observation most prevalent from last night's 31-17 loss to Vanderbilt in Nashivlle is fairly universal in the fan base - the Rebels didn't play well. Brilliant, I know, but what else is there to say?
Didn't tackle. Didn't protect. Didn't run the ball well. Didn't cover on kickoffs. Didn't contain. Didn't kick well. Didn't. . . didn't. . . didn't.
About the only "did" I saw were three long passes, the one thing preseason "everyone" said we would not be ale to do. Adams/Schaeffer to Wallace has, thankfully, fooled us all, but it gives most of us an idea of what we really know about the game. (I know, not funny.)
The Rebels are playing wtih a lot of new players and a lot of young players. The injuries - although we are somewhat in the dark on that - seem to be mounting. Some of the lackluster play can be excused due to those two factors, but some of the stuff I witnessed last night against the Dores was simply getting outplayed.
The Rebs were getting minimal penetration from the front four on defense, the linebackers at times looked to be stuck in mud and the corners and safeties were reduced to being touchdown-savers too many times. And when pressure was applied, QB Eric Nickson wiggled his way out of jams when we lost containment.
Vanderbilt had a lot of experience back on offense, and experience is key, but this wasn't - from my view - a game about experience. It was a game where fairly equal athletes went after each other and one team simply outplayed the other, basically from start to finish.
On offense, our OL seemed to slump back into their Memphis performance after breaking loose last week versus Missouri a bit. The stats say it all - 54 yards rushing and 6 sacks allowed. . . Whoa, Nelly! That'll get you beat. QB Seth Adams, prior to dinging up his shoulder, was doing an OK job of moving the team, but we weren't getting many points out of the movement. It was like spinning on pavement - sounds cool, but not real effective for speed or momentum.
WR Mike Wallace, who has obviously come into his own of late, had another big day, catching two bombs for scores and another for good measure. Shay Hodge is a very nice-looking possession receiver with sure hands. Beyond that, we were average, across the board.
Special teams? Geez, the way things are going, we may have to change the name from "special teams" to "everything-other-than-offense-and-defense teams." We are losing acres, not yards, in kickoff/kickoff return situations.
I was glad to see another Hugh Freeze fake punt that worked like you draw it up for a first down that led to a score. Beyond that, there was little that was "special" about them.
Alright - we aren't where we need or want to be. OK, so the Gators are slithering into town with a stomach full of Volunteer meat. Sure, everyone is down and out. Without question, the Rebs are not playing good, consistent football - good in spurts doesn't get it done these days.
I've had my poormouthing session. Done. Over.
What's next? I suppose I could spend this week writing about how the Rebs are going to be overmatched and will get mauled and will be lucky not to give up 70 points. . . yadda-yaddda-yadda. . .
Not my style. I wait from December to September for three months of the year that I cherish - football season.
The rest of the time I am watching our coaches and players bust their rumps to get ready to entertain me for 12 games in that time frame.
I'm not going to waste a week moaning and groaning about the team with an opportunity to put our best foot forward for Florida just six days away. No, sir.
I'm going to encourage the coaches and players (and the doctors and trainers), I'm going to get myself pumped up for this chance to knock off a giant of college football and I'm going to be fired up when Saturday gets here.
Our team has big problems, no doubt about it. Health, talent, execution, depth, etc. But there is no amount of worrying or griping I can do to change that. I'd rather jump in the boat with them and start bailing the water rather than bailing on the team by jumping out of the boat.
Right now, there's nothing to do but stay the course as a supporter and hope the Rebs find the course.
Anything else is just a waste of precious time and opportunity, even unlikely opportunity.
Rebs face worst case scenario
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