Ole Miss Spring Football Game: 5 Things That Matter
What do you need to know about what happened in the Ole Miss spring football game?
1. And … The New Offense?
It’s not going to be boring.
Of course it’s easy to wing it around the yard when the quarterback can’t get hit and the defensive backs aren’t blowing up the receivers going across the middle, but offensive coordinator Phil Longo’s pass early, pass often style worked great in the glorified scrimmage. There were plenty of deep plays, lots of options to work with, and enough fireworks to throw a scare into SEC defenses looking at the tape, especially because …
2. Shea Patterson Was Fantastic
Again, it’s hard to truly analyze an offense in a spring game when the quarterback isn’t getting popped, so as long as things are clicking, all is fine. It’s when the passing game like this isn’t working under the easy conditions that there’s a problem.
Patterson looked every bit the part of a franchise quarterback to work everything around, completing 21-of-30 passes for 341 yards and two scores. He was sharp, accurate, and in command throughout, getting the ball out of his hands in a hurry and owning the offense. He did exactly what the coaching staff needed, especially working with …
3. The Killer Receiving Corps
The Rebel receivers look the part with size, breakaway ability, and the potential to make the offense blow up when getting the ball in their hands. D.K. Metcalf and Patterson looked like they’d been hooking up for years, while A.J. Brown showed off what he’s such a matchup problem taking a quick hit the distance.
From the 6-4, 224-pound Metcalf, to the 6-1, 225-pound Brown, to the 6-2, 192-pound Van Jefferson, this is a very big, very good group for Patterson to work with.
But if the offense was rocking, that means …
4. The Defense Didn’t Look All That Great
Enter defensive coordinator Wesley McGriff, whose defense suffered from 1) having to deal with this new offense, 2) not being able to go full bore, and 3) trying to still figure it all out after a miserable year.
This should eventually be a physical, decent secondary, but it didn’t unload on the receivers – this might be a problem for the Rebel offense in live action; these guys are going to get blasted at times – and too many okay receptions went for long plays.
Also, to be fair, the defensive front couldn’t go off on Patterson, so there was a comfort level for the O that obviously won’t be there during the season. On the plus side, the Rebel line got behind the line, but it was going at about 75% speed. At least that’s the hope.
5. Oh Yeah, That Other Issue
It’s been the narrative ever since the self-imposed sanctions and NCAA issues hit. Everyone’s talking a great game about coming together, making every game like a bowl, and being that wild-card team that no one wants to face. And that’s what should make Ole Miss so dangerous.
There aren’t any major expectations. No one’s expecting an SEC title, and no one would be shocked if this turned into a mediocre run. However, with this explosive offense, and a defense with a new coordinator with a chip on its shoulder, look out. The spring game showed off a team that doesn’t look in any way like it’s sulking – it’s going to have fun trying to screw up everyone else.