2004 SEC Football Preview: Ole Miss

Ole Miss opened 2003 with a 3-point win over Vanderbilt, but went on to a tie for the SEC West championship and a Cotton Bowl victory. The Commodores meet David Cutcliffe's Rebels in Oxford on Sept. 18. Our 2004 SEC Football preview continues with a capsule look at Ole Miss.

COACHING

Head Coach: David Cutcliffe (Career Rec: 40-22-0)
Offensive Coordinator: John Latina
Defensive Coordinator: Chuck Driesbach

2003 Record: 10-3 overall (7-1 SEC)

2003 NCAA STATS RANKINGS

Total Offense: 22nd (433.2)
Rushing Offense: 64th (147.2)
Passing Offense: 15th (286.0)
Scoring Offense: 17th (34.0)
Total Defense:59th (378.5)
Rushing Defense: 14th (102.5)
Pass Defense: 109th (276.1)
Scoring Defense: 35th (21.9)

STARTERS RETURNING

Offense (6):


LT Tre' Stallings (6-4, 317, Jr.)
LG Doug Buckles (6-5, 300, Sr.)
RG Marcus Johnson (6-6, 320, Sr.)
TE Eric Rice (6-3, 230, Sr.)
FL Mike Espy (6-0, 195, Jr.)
FB Lorenzo Townsend (6-2, 235, Sr.)

Defense (4):


DT Daniel Booth (6-4, 281, Sr.)
LCB Travis Johnson (6-1, 191, Jr.)
SS Kelvin Robinson (6-1, 215, Jr.)
FS Eric Oliver (6-2, 215, Sr.)
* All-Star Candidates

Roster

TEAM STRENGTHS

Offensive line, defensive secondary.

TEAM QUESTION MARKS

Quarterback, linebacker, defensive line.

KEY GAME

.

HEAD COACHES COMMENTS

"We need a good August. Don't know that we got everything answered in the spring. We need to be very phsyical on offense to help our new QB settle into his role. The kicking game should be a bonus for us to help us win some close ballgames."

"Eli Manning on the field is hard to replace. Did an outstanding job in leadership. Harder to replace the playing on the field. Helped Spurlock for three years to see it done right. Other players on the team saw that., Any time replace a QB been a 3-year starter that is always an issue."

"Our OL is a strength. We may not be as deep as Tennessee at times but close to as talented. That's a strong statement. Starts with our guards, Buckles and Johnson, both coming back as 4-year starters. Talented, good FB players. Been competing in this league a long time. Spencer, at center, is as talented as any player I've been around. Has played a lot at guard. Should be a big plus inside. Tre Stallings back for his third year at tackle, Harris is also a very physical junior. That group needs to take some pressure off Spurlock."

VandyMania Projection

2004 SCHEDULE AND GAME PREDICTIONS


Sept. 4 MEMPHIS, L 45-28
Sept. 11 at Alabama, L 24-17
Sept. 18 VANDERBILT, W 35-31
Sept. 25 at Wyoming, W 28-20
Oct. 2 ARKANSAS STATE, W 28-21
Oct. 9 at South Carolina, L 28-17
Oct. 16 TENNESSEE, W 21-18
Oct. 30 AUBURN, L 31-27
Nov. 13 at Arkansas, W 17-14
Nov. 20 at LSU, L 38-21
Nov. 27 MISSISSIPPI STATE, W 28-27

VandyMania's 2004 Ole Miss prediction: 6-5, (4-4 SEC)


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