Ole Miss Football: Previewing The Ole Miss/Vandy Game

NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 07: Head coach Derek Mason of the Vanderbilt Commodores pleads with an official after a long pass reception was called out of bounds on the one yard line against the Georgia Bulldogs during the first half at Vanderbilt Stadium on October 7, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 07: Head coach Derek Mason of the Vanderbilt Commodores pleads with an official after a long pass reception was called out of bounds on the one yard line against the Georgia Bulldogs during the first half at Vanderbilt Stadium on October 7, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images) /

Ole Miss football has suffered a rough past month. Now sitting with a 2-3 record the Rebels have a chance for some degree of redemption against the Vanderbilt Commodores.

It hasn’t been easy for Ole Miss football or their fans. In fact, the past month has been so bad we are hoping for a resurgence of Ole Miss football sooner rather than later. Some of you are mere youngsters in Ole Miss football history. Even I am and I’ve had 52 years to experience the deluge of emotions which come from being a Ole Miss fan. It hasn’t been pretty for Ole Miss football in recent weeks. It’s actually been ugly. However, we saw improvement last week against the second best team in the SEC.

However, it all boiled into another loss. Three losses in a row is never good. Trust me, as a Ole Miss fan, I can relate. Three losses in a row is difficult to overcome but it is done every season for college football teams. They adapt and overcome. Teams just like Ole Miss have had three straight losses and rebounded to have successful seasons. Tomorrow is Ole Miss football’s chance for redemption. A chance to even the score, so to speak. It comes against the Vanderbilt Commodores.

Who Is Vandy?

Ole Miss Rebels Football
Ole Miss Rebels Football /

Ole Miss Rebels Football

The every year question mark! That’s who Vandy is! Of course, Vanderbilt has changed since the glory days of SEC football. Yes, there was a time when Vandy was feared.

There was a time when Vanderbilt University was not only the wealthiest college in the United States but also had a very good football team. When we say very good, we mean they were perennial contenders for the SEC crown.

A lot has changed in the past. Now, Vanderbilt plays for a few big wins each season and a chance to escape mediocrity for a moment. That’s what they are looking for tomorrow.

Tomorrow when they take the field they’ll be looking for a step stool. A chance to use a victory over Ole Miss to once again escape the same old mediocrity.

Of course, when Ole Miss defeats the Dores, we’ll use the same game hoping for more than the same result. It’s no big secret, we could both use a win tomorrow.

OK, So Here’s Vandy

I’m not going to mess up your time or mine by trying to say this isn’t a very well-coached Vandy team. They are exceptionally good on defense and have a legitimate quarterback on offense. This Vandy team is young and improving from game to game despite the losses in recent weeks. Plain and simple, this is a pretty good Vandy team.

Oh no, don’t laugh and please don’t let their record fool you. This is not the ordinary Vandy team we are playing. Of course, there is no way of knowing which Vandy team we will get come Saturday. Will they be defensive Vandy or the offensive juggernaut? We really have no way of knowing as of yet. However, figuring we have the best quarterback and offense in the SEC, I’m guessing we get to see the Vandy defense and lots of it.

There’s no doubt they’ll use pressure to try to disrupt our young QB, however Shea Patterson is prepared. Shea has actually been here before. He’s felt the fury of a stingy Vandy defense and knows what it’s like to be on he receiving end of a SEC butt whooping. Oh trust me, there are games which you remember and games which you had rather forget. This is where Shea Patterson is right now, Shea wants this game and he wants within the confines of the Vaught. Lets start with the Vandy defense.

Dore’s Anchor

There’s no doubt Derek Mason is a defensive guru. AT one point this season he had the Dore’s D ranked #4 in total defense. Going back to what we said earlier, Mason will do his best to disrupt Shea’s game. Mason will try to upset the tempo. We can expect Mason to bring an extra on every play to pressure Patterson.

Vandy, who is 3-3 and 0-3 in SEC play, has vowed to be better.  We will see an all-out defensive onslaught from Vandy. Take into consideration, this is a Vandy defense who helped take down a ranked Kansas State team before running a SEC gauntlet of their own.

Vandy has a talented defense who plays hard and fast. Those combinations have served Rebel opponents well in three straight losses. The key to Vandy’s defense is stopping the run and rushing the ball is something which has failed Ole Miss this season.

For Ole Miss, they have to establish a fast tempo and utilize Jordan Wilkins out of the backfield. Wilkins is the premier ball-carrier on this Rebels team, he needs to be getting more touches. Of course, Shea will have to have protection. Now that OC coach Longo knows what to expect from SEC defenses we can expect to see Shea getting rid of the ball even quicker. We can also expect Shea to continue to pad his SEC leading statistics.

The Dark Side

This is the question mark for both teams. When the Dores are on offense and the Rebels are on defense, who shows up? Both teams have failed to live up to early expectations and it has shown in their loss columns. Both of these teams have problems in these areas.

Vandy has a very talented offense, however they’ve failed to produce in their three losses. Pretty much the same situation as the Ole Miss defense. Offense has been the Achilles heel for Vandy as much as the defense has been for Ole Miss.

The Vandy offense has a very good QB in Kyle Shurmur. He controls the Vandy offense and doesn’t make mistakes. Shurmur has thrown only 1 INT all season while still throwing for 12 TDs. Currently, Shurmur is ranked 6th among the SEC quarterbacks.

Which D Do We See?

The million dollar question. Which Ole Miss defense do we see today? Do we see a first-half defense or a second-half defense? Better yet, when do we see this defense play as cohesive unit on a consistent basis? I believe it begins today.

This Rebels defense has to come alive at some point and I believe it happens today. Marquis Haynes and DeMarquis Gates are both set for huge games, however they must have help. This defense is very talented and simply haven’t found themselves. Playing at home today, I believe this D finds what they’ve been lacking.

Next: Season Predictions!

The Ole Miss Rebels welcome the Vanderbilt Commodores to Vaught-Hemingway Stadium this afternoon. Kickoff is scheduled for 2:30pm CT and the game will be televised on the SEC Network. LET’S GO REBELS! Hotty Toddy!