Ole Miss Football: Grove Grinder, Almost Rebels Football But Not Quite

OXFORD, MS - OCTOBER 28: Fans of the Ole Miss Rebels walk through the Grove before a game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Hemingway Stadium on October 28, 2017 in Oxford, Mississippi. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
OXFORD, MS - OCTOBER 28: Fans of the Ole Miss Rebels walk through the Grove before a game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Hemingway Stadium on October 28, 2017 in Oxford, Mississippi. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /

This Grove Grinder is dedicated to all of us Ole Miss football fans who have been trying to occupy the days leading into the 2018 college football season.

Ole Miss football fans may not be able to agree on mascots or uniforms but we can all agree the 2018 Ole Miss football season is taking forever to get here. Personally, I’ve been jacked up over the Rebels upcoming season and can’t wait to watch how the season unfolds. Like so many other Rebel Nation family members I began as cautiously optimistic, followed by excitement and have wound up in a full-blown fervor for Rebels football.  Of course, there is nothing wrong with that unless it’s still not college football season.

So as we’ve gotten closer to the season opener on September 1 in Texas Tech, the days have seemed to slow down and drag. Since there is nothing we can do to speed up the Rebels 2018 kickoff we’ve found ourselves trying to fill the void with anything and everything even remotely related to Rebels football. Go ahead and admit it, you know you’ve been trying to find something, anything which can get you thru the college football preseason. In some cases you’ve delved into a variety of makeshift substitutes.

Oh you’ve been watching the most recent practice videos on YouTube and listening for the latest sound bites from the staff hoping for a sliver of exciting information about the Rebels. You’ve been surfing the web to get all the latest bits of info on Ole Miss football and their 2018 opponents in hopes of finding some small piece of Rebels football news. It has only been a very temporary fix so you’ve found yourself watching the 2018 NFL Preseason to see a few great plays hopefully made by a NFL Rebel. Some of us have even resorted to the Canadian Football League. I mean it is football so it’s all good. Right?

Close But No Cigar

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No, it’s simply not the same for those of us Rebels fans who have a die-hard penchant for Ole Miss football. We are ready to see our Ole Miss Rebels in action this season and there is nothing which will suffice.

Oh trust me when I say fans have been happy to see our NFL Rebels and CFL Rebels do well in the absence of college football. However, with it being the preseason in the NFL there are only a handful of Rebels veterans getting significant reps.

Many will not see very much playing time until the last preseason game and of course regular season. Still the few NFL Rebels we’ve seen much from so far have all looked good. Then there is the CFL where there are only four Rebels on active rosters so the opportunity to see former Rebels play is somewhat limited.

Honestly if I lived in Canada I would be a CFL and Hamilton Tiger-Cats fan because of former Rebels quarterback Jeremiah Masoli. Trying to pass the days I’ve found Canadian Football to be just exciting as the NFL with more of a college football vibe.  However, as much as I wanted it to fill the void of missing Rebels football it still wasn’t the same. It has become painfully obvious our insatiable hunger for Ole Miss football can only be satisfied by the Rebels on September 1.

So What’s The Fuss?

The excitement of the Ole Miss football season comes each year but some years are very special. Such is the case this season in Oxford as Ole Miss football will field a team which many college football pundits have written off. The national media has painted a picture of the Rebels program being in tatters and disrepair when the Ole Miss football program is far from it. Sure, the NCAA came in and did their major overhaul in Oxford which has not been the program killer which was predicted at the TSBU feed trough. No this is a Ole Miss football program which is loaded in 2018 and beyond with both stars and future stars on both sides of the ball.

The offense is loaded and will be able to easily keep pace with any opposing offense the Rebels face. On offense the Rebels return the top three receivers of the NWO, the leader being 2018 First Team All-American wide receiver AJ Brown. Brown finished 2017 with 75 grabs for 1,252 yards and 11 TDs leading the SEC. There is no disputing juniors Brown and DK Metcalf and senior DaMarkus Lodge will be thrilling in 2018. Throw in one of the largest defensive lines in the nation and Jordan Ta’amu and you see why defenses are having nightmares.

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Then There Is The Defense

When it comes to the defense coach Wesley McGriff is entering his second season as defensive coordinator for the Rebels. In 2018 McGriff is beginning the season with a new look on the staff and at some key positions. However,  this season those key positions have a tremendous amount of depth and filling in the gaps caused by the 2018 NFL Draft hasn’t been difficult. There has been a significant number of position battles which have allowed us to see some stars in the making in fall camp. McGriff seems to believe they will be very physical and that may mean some fans will be very happy.

Most Ole Miss fans will agree the defense has been lacking in past seasons. Most of us have seriously wondered if we could see the return of the Landshark Defense in 2018. Some Rebels fans believe this is the season it actually happens and the Rebels defense makes a huge statement. One thing is certain, the attitude and desire to be a better defense is there and McGriff will get the very best from this talented group. For now we are just ready to finally see them in action so we can know for sure.

So As We Wait

We have 10 days and a wake-up to finally get to our happy place of the Ole Miss football season and all will be right in the world. Some people may say I’m crazy but I’m very excited and very optimistic about this season and this Rebels team. After all this team, the Ole Miss program as a whole and we the fans have been thru over the past couple of seasons we are due for a chance at proving our critics wrong once again. So what if we didn’t get ranked in the preseason, it really wasn’t expected but it does provide this team with a lot of motivation. Besides, it’s much more important how you finish than how you start.

dark. Next. Season Predictions!

So as we watch the days continue to drag slowly by heading into the 2018 Ole Miss football season we are still going to be busy. We’ll still be digging thru YouTube videos of our favorite Rebels and sketching over every tidbit of information which leaks out of Oxford. We’ll still be rooting for our favorite NFL Rebels in the preseason and some of us will even resign ourselves to watching the CFL. Even though we know it isn’t truly Rebels football, it almost is. But not quite. Hotty Toddy!