2003 SEC Football Preview- Ole Miss

David Cutcliffe's Ole Miss Rebels, led by quarterback and Heisman Trophy candidate Eli Manning, come to Nashville Aug. 30 for Vanderbilt's opening game. Today's edition of our 2003 SEC Football Preview focuses on the Rebels.


Head Coach: David Cutcliffe (Career Rec: 30-19)
Offensive Coordinator: John Latina
Defensive Coordinator: Chuck Driesbach

2002 Record: 7-6 overall (3-5 SEC)


Total Offense: 76th (358.69)
Rushing Offense: 110th (94.31)
Passing Offense: 23rd (264.38)
Scoring Offense: 62nd (27.00)
Total Defense:41st (347.31)
Rushing Defense: 65th (160.00)
Pass Efficiency Defense:49th (116.27)
Scoring Defense: 55th (25.46)

Ole Miss quarterback Eli Manning passed for 3,400 yards and 21 touchdowns in 2002. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)


Offense (7):

SE Bill Flowers (6-0 1/2, 193, Jr.)
LT Tre' Stallings (6-4, 317, So.)
LG Doug Buckles (6-5, 307, Jr.)
RG Marcus Johnson (6-6, 320, Jr.)
QB Eli Manning (6-5, 218, Sr.)
RB Tremaine Turner (5-10, 200, Sr.)
FB Rick Razzano (5-11 1/2, 240, Jr.)

Defense (8):

LE Josh Cooper (6-4, 245, Sr.)
N Jesse Mitchell (6-1, 277, Sr.)
RE Charlie Anderson (6-4, 235, Sr.)
SLB Justin Wade (6-3, 225, Sr.)
LCB Von Hutchins (5-11, 184, Sr.)
FS Eric Oliver (6-2, 210, Jr.)
WS Travis Blanchard (5-11, 185, Sr.)
RCB Travis Johnson (6-1, 191, So.)

* All-Star Candidates



Quarterback, running backs, offensive line.




October 4, at Florida. If the Rebs can pull off another stunner, this time in Gainesville, they'll be on their way to a landmark season.


"I expect our leadership to be better from the seniors, and I expect them to raise the bar. We have a very tough opener with an SEC team on the road. Be a big game early. I know a lot of people have talked a lot about more capable of running the football and defending the run and I couldn't agree more. Two big areas of concern, hopefully we'll know a lot about ourselves early in camp. Everybody looks good to me from ability standpoint, evaluations do in the spring. We return a lot of good football teams and players. I know we have our work cut out for us in the West. I think everybody sets five years is a thing lot of people do, certainly looked at that, like to get to Atlanta in that time frame, we know that's a challenge every year for every team. It's our goal, one we have our sights set on. Only way can get there is play them one at a time. Think what I was referring to with seniors, they've had winning seasons every year but they intention is to raise the bar."

"Peyton, by time he was a senior had lot of experience, Eli does as well. Has to focus on making the big plays when opportunity presents itself but don't force that issue. The trademark that I like of Eli and of Peyton is their consistency. Unbelievably accurate with the ball, balanced emotionally, you gain a sense of confidence. Their consistency I Think that's what Eli is looking for, consistent level of outstanding play, and that's what Mannings are able to do. I've had 9 years, it will be unusual. I don't have anything to complain about. Most would say I'm pretty lucky."

"We can't be as good as want to be unless more consistent with OL play and RB play. We're fast, we can throw it, we have people who can run but being in this league long time, have hard time winning the league if not as physical as everybody else you play. That's our biggest challenge."

"It's every drill you do. Your staff has to have that mentality, individual work, demands are set, carry that into group drills. We're going to do more live contact work. It's planned right now. Knocking on wood. Best laid plans get changed due to injury, things like that. We'll focus on more physical practices. Not talking about beating them up or extending time. Using our time to get demands met. Over time develop mentality of what's expected. Don't know any way to do that other than practice field."

Defense jumped out in spring, much more aggressive, more confident. Took a year for some people to settle in where they played in 4-2-5 scheme. Was excited about spring defense had. Expect us to be more versatile and to do more things than have done in the past."

"They been through wars, won big games, lost some tough games, understand what takes to compete in this league, gives sense of confidence be best we can be, 4 really good captains, a bunch of other seniors who are captain-like people, hope we'll maintain focus and attitude."

"Two ways to look at schedule, difficult to open on road in SEC, go to Memphis, play a rival, first two game on road, be a challenge, but seven of next 10 are at home. Got deal last year with murderer's row. This sets up better than last year's schedule but not call any of them easy. They're all tough."

VandyMania Projection

Look for the Rebs to finally get something more than 7 or 8 wins. Eli Manning may win the Heisman Trophy. 10-2 overall. 6-2 SEC.


Aug. 30 at Vanderbilt, W 31-28
Sept. 6 at Memphis, W 28-17
Sept. 13 Louisiana-Monroe, W 38-13
Sept. 27 Texas Tech, W 35-28
Oct. 4 at Florida, L 38-34
Oct. 11 Arkansas State, W 28-14
Oct. 18 Alabama, W 24-17
Oct. 25 Arkansas, W 35-31
Nov. 1 South Carolina, W 31-27
Nov. 8 at Auburn, L 31-21
Nov. 22 Louisiana State, W 37-31
Nov. 27 at Mississippi State, W 38-28

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