Ole Miss at Vanderbilt: Keys To The Game


Keys to the Ole Miss – Vanderbilt game at LP field in Nashville, TN 9/6/2014


Obviously rushing for 70 yards against Boise State is not good enough if Ole Miss wants to reach their full potential this year.  Offensive line coach Matt Luke described some of the deficiencies in week 1 “(the offensive line issues) didn’t really have to do with ability.  It was more focus and adjusting to alignments and defensive shifts we didn’t prepare for.”  Coach Luke continued in saying, “we didn’t play very well but it is all correctable.  We made adjustments at halftime and came out and played much better.  But the bottom line is we have to come out and play more physical.  Each man has to play his position and do his job.”

Expect some position shifts up and down the line as Coach Luke mentioned getting freshman Rod Taylor in at right guard this week early.  Look for Robert Conyers to play at center at some point this weekend.  Justin Bell can move around several positions as well.  Depth is critical as the outdoor stadium and increased heat will require more players to get involved.  Only six lineman played against Boise.

The rushing offense averaged 4.7 yards per carry last year compared to 2.0 against Boise last week.  With all the running backs returning from last year the only difference is the three starting lineman they lost in the off season.


Vanderbilt Derek Mason had a nightmare start to his head coaching career.  Jerron Seymour was held out of week 1 due to injury, he had to replace four seniors in the secondary, a fleet of wide receivers and start over with three lukewarm quarterbacks.

When the turnovers began, I believe Derek Mason over reacted and pulled starting QB Patton Robinette out too early in favor of Stephen Rivers who only accelerated the turnover rate.  Then third-string QB Johnny McCrary entered to add two more interceptions on a seven turnover night.

Vandy will not turn the ball over seven times this week.  But just like last week there are a lot of new players on this team (similar to Boise).  Unfortunately, the week 1 collapse did not provide much film to prepare for.

Best advice I have for the Rebels is to prepare like you are playing 2013 Stanford, as Derek Mason was the previous offensive coordinator for the Cardinal and hope we can catch Vandy on the mend for one more week.


Quarterback Bo Wallace admitted this week that he may have gotten a little ahead of himself and forced some passes in situations he should not have in week one.

“It was the first game.  I feel as healthy as I have, and I was trying to make a statement with my play. I was forcing the balls in places that I shouldn’t have thrown it. Going forward I know what I have to do. I have to play the way I did in the second half, check the ball down and take my completions. Especially with our backs, with those check downs, we were getting 20-25 yards a pop on the check downs. I’ve got to get the check downs and let my guys do what they do.”

We keep waiting for the mature senior leader to emerge but we may always have a quick-draw gunslinger on our hands.  If that is the case, Freeze can still find ways for him to be successful.

Taking a defensive approach could really help Wallace’s game.  Up to this point, Wallace has had to put the team on his back and try to win games by outscoring teams.  This year the defense has progressed to the point that the best offense might be this Landshark defense.  Let the game come to you Mr. Wallace, and allow the defense to give you field position and momentum.

It sure would make things easier for the fans watching.


Since most Vanderbilt fans have moved on to preparing for mid-terms and thinking about basketball, it is always important to note that the first game of the season is not always the best indicator of the season going forward.

The Rebels shouldn’t watch too much of the Temple tape and assume Vanderbilt will roll over at the sight of the Nkemdiche’s.  This is a team that gets a do-over with two back to back games in Nashville, and a chance to show everyone they are not as bad as they played in weather-delayed opener.

Likewise, which Ole Miss team will show up?  The Ole Miss team in the first half of Boise or the second half?  It’s really important to know the answer to this question.

The winning team needs to win the emotional edge to win the game.


I have no idea if Derek Mason will be successful long term at Vanderbilt.  At the moment I am wary that it is possible to turn Vanderbilt into a power run team.  Bielima is trying to take a wide open Arkansas and make a Big 10 team, Muschamp is trying to reverse all the Urban Meyer success and Chizik did all he could to slow down Cam Newton, but he won a national championship anyway.

The key for Coach Mason will be can he recruit well enough to flip this roster over from a fast paced James Franklin offense to a power run game or something in-between?

I thought the offensive line was totally unprepared last week for Vandy and I expect that to continue for at least another week.  Expect VU RB Jerron Seymour to get his first action this week and more patience with the QB’s from Coach Mason, but I still see a loss in week two for the Commodores.

I think Bo Wallace will settle down and protect the ball more and I don’t see this Ole Miss D slowing down, especially with Denzel Nkemdiche and Issac Gross getting back on the field in Nashville.