2009 Mississippi Rebels College Football Team Preview
By Jason Green at Predictem.com
National Rank: 10
Head Coach: Houston Nutt
Offensive Coordinator: Kent Austin
Defensive Coordinator: Tyrone Nix
Last League Title: 1963
2008 Record: 9-4, 5-3 (2nd in SEC West)
Betting: ATS 10-2-0
Stadium: Vaught Hemingway Stadium (60,856)
Ole Miss is led by QB Jevan Snead, who is a legit pro prospect and great at running the Rebel’s pro style offense. WR Dexter McCluster is the most dangerous all purpose offensive player in the SEC now that former Florida star Percy Harvin is in the NFL. The Bulldogs return 6 of 7 WR’s, but true freshman WR Pat Patterson is a star in the making and may see a lot of playing time.
The Rebels rushing attack is led by RB Brandon Bolden, who had 542 rushing yards last season and will get a chance to double that this season since most teams will focus on stopping the Rebels’ passing game. Last season starter Cordera Eason will get some carries, but Bolden should be the big gun.
The offensive line is a concern, as they only return 2 starters from last year’s squad. There are some solid players coming in, but there is a lack of depth on the line. If any of the starters on the line get injured they may be in trouble.
Keep an eye out for Snead and Bolden, as they may be one of the better QB/RB duos in the nation and each may put up some huge numbers this year.
Returning Offensive Starters:
Jevan Snead (QB, Jr.)
Shay Hodge (WR, Sr.)
Dexter McCluster (WR, Sr.)
John Jerry (T, Sr.)
Daverin Geralds (C, Sr.)
The Rebels may have a solid defense up front, but their secondary may hurt them this season. DE Greg Hardy is a talented player, but he has injury and off-the-field issues. He did not even start last season and missed 4 games, but was one of the best pass rushers in the nation and finished with 8.5 sacks. Him and former Auburn Tiger LB Patrick Trahan will form a formidable pass rush attack.
The D line of the Rebels is solid and deep and Marcus Tillman and Kentrell Lockett are returning starters that will make it difficult for opposing RB’s. T Ted Laurent is also returning and he is a solid run stopper having had 7 tackles for a loss last season. At the end of spring practice T Jerrell Powe was voted the most improved player and he may have a breakout season.
The secondary returns 3 starters this season, but the Rebels ranked 10th in pass efficiency defense in the SEC last season. The starters cannot get hurt, as there is a serious lack of depth in the secondary.
Defensive Returning Starters:
Ted Laurent (NT, Jr.)
Marcus Tilman (DE Sr.)
Jonathan Cornell (LB Jr.)
Allen Walker (LB Jr.)
Marshay Green (CB Sr.)
Cassius Vaughn (CB Sr.)
Kendrick Lewis (FS Sr.)
Sr. K Joshua Lee is pretty solid, as he hit 17/21 of his field goals last season, but he does not possess the strongest leg. Last season he was only 2/5 from beyond 40 yards. Justin Sparks is the new punter for the Rebels and he is unproven at the position.
Marshay Green in the starting CB and he is a good punt returner. The kickoff returns will be handled by RB Brandon Bolden. The Rebels had decent coverage teams last year, but they will have many young faces this season in coverage.
The Bottom Line
Ole Miss is generally in the middle of the SEC, but this season they have a chance to contend for the National Title. They have a high-powered offense and a decent defense, but their secondary is a major concern. Because of this the offense may have to light up the scoreboard against the teams that have a legit passing game.
Another good thing that the Rebels have going for them is that they don’t play a killer conference schedule. The Rebels advancing to the SEC title game this season is a real possibility.
9/6/09 at Memphis
9/19/09 SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA
10/3/09 at Vanderbilt
10/31/09 at Auburn
11/7/09 NORTHERN ARIZONA
11/28/09 at Mississippi State
The Ole Miss Rebels are currently 50-1 to win the BCS Championship at time of print (8/11/09)