The Ole Miss coaching staff has gotten a second look at the Rebels’ 48-44 loss to South Carolina on Saturday, a game in which the Rebels led by 10 points in the fourth quarter. Here are some observations Matt Luke and his staff drew from the film.
- Jordan Ta’amu will be limited in practice this week with a foot injury but will play in College Station on Saturday night, Luke said. Ta’amu took a number of fairly hard hits against South Carolina and left the game in the fourth quarter, but returned after sitting one drive.
- Braylon Sanders will be a game time decision against Texas A&M with an ankle injury.
Luke comments on NCAA Appeals Decision:
Ole Miss received a decision last week from the NCAA’s Infraction Appeals Committee, 0ne that lifted the unprecedented unofficial visits restrictions but upheld the bowl ban for the 2018 season.
“As a head coach, you’re looking at the big picture moving forward,” Luke said. ” Being able to recruit guys like Scottie Phillips and Matt Corral and all of that moving forward, now you’re not recruiting with one hand behind your back any more. You can go out and recruit. I think a lot of people see opportunity to come in and help us. That really helps in recruiting, so that’s a huge victory.”
Ole Miss’ season will end in three weeks, something Luke said had been the team’s mindset the entire time. But the unofficial visits restriction being overturned is a significant development for the longterm success of the program.
McGriff discusses defensive woes, late explosive run:
For most of the game, Ole Miss did a decent job of limiting South Carolina rushing the football, despite giving up over 500 yards of total offense for the game. Part of that is due to Carolina starter Rico Dowdle exiting the game in the first quarter with an injury. Backup running back Mon Denson had just 31 yards on ten carries, but broke a 69 run to set up the go-ahead score late in the fourth quarter.
“We knew we had to stop the run,” defensive coordinator Wesley McGriff said. “We wanted to make sure a 100 yard rusher didn’t leave our stadium and we were on the mark before that late explosive play. We just missed a couple tackles there. He made a good run, ran through tackles and got to second level. In this league you have to account for everything. You have make sure he gets on the ground.”
Longo talks offensive struggles late in the game:
For three quarters, Ole Miss moved the football at will on the Gamecocks, racking up 598 yards in three quarters. The Rebels managed just 18 yards of offense in the fourth quarter, punted three times and turned it over on downs to end the game. Ta’amu missed a drive while being evaluated for an injury and the unit seemingly never got back into a rhythm after that.
Offensive coordinator Phil Longo discussed what he saw on film that triggered the costly struggles.