Three Keys Revisited Vanderbilt vs Ole Miss

Well, it looks like that Temple loss was a little more than just a hiccup in the ‘Dores march to FBS domination. One week, and one major league beat down, later Vanderbilt is no closer to establishing their identity as a team under new head coach Derek Mason.

Mississippi outplayed the Commodores in every facet of the game as they took apart the black and gold at will in winning 41-3. It is not time to panic just yet as a let down from last season was inevitable, but the coaching staff needs to get this team playing competitively in a hurry or much damage will be done.

1) Keeping the quarterback upright – Pass

Despite the pressure defense the Rebels like to employ Stephen Rivers was kept generally clean. The problem is that clean does not always mean good. Rivers was 6-of-25 for 60 yards on Saturday. That is 2.4 yards per pass attempt. You do not need to be a genius to know that at 2.4 yards per pass attempt you are not going to win many football games. Throw in a pick-six that was as ugly as any you will see and you have to say that even though the offensive line played alright, the passing game was stunningly ineffective.

The bigger issue here is one of play calling. While Rivers was drowning in his first collegiate start, running back Ralph Webb was tearing up the Rebels defense. Even when this was still a game running Webb (5.3 yards per carry) and Dallas Rivers (4.3 yards per carry) was clearly the ‘Dores only viable way of staying in the game. Instead everything was put on Stephen Rivers arm, with depressingly predictable results. Karl Dorrell has to sort out his play calling and ride his horses at tailback. If he doesn’t do this then it is going to be a long, long season.

2) Eliminate the turnovers – Pass

Going from seven turnovers to one turnover has to please Derek Mason. That one turnover leading directly to a touchdown will not please Derek Mason. The ball security in all phases of the game was much better, but there were obviously far too many errant throws leading to incomplete passes. The next step for the offense has to be to sustain drives and find a way to put points on the board. Weirdly enough the defense again showed flashes of life. The problem is that when your offense cannot stay on the field for more than six plays you have no time to rest and prepare for what the opposition is going to throw at you. Simply put, the offense needs to step up.

3) Stop Bo Wallace’s second half surge – Pass (Kind of)

The ‘Dores used an interesting strategy to nullify the famed second half surge of Rebels quarterback Bo Wallace on Saturday. They decided that by letting Wallace score at will in the first half he would be taken out midway through the third quarter and thus be ineffective statistically for the rest of the game! How is that for a uniquely depressing way of qualifying just how one-sided the Mississippi win was?

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