Junior college transfer Wesley Pendleton has been the Rebels' most dependable cover corner the first half of this season.
He didn't have a very good game at Fresno State, unable to keep up with Fresno's deep threat, Jalen Saunders, who had six catches for 127 yards.
Saunders entered the Ole Miss game second in the country in yards per catch at 30.45. Fresno quarterback Derek Carr found him early and often enough that Pendleton was eventually replaced by freshman Nick Brassell.
At Monday's media session Pendleton seemed humbled. Arrogance wasn't a personality trait he'd shown, but he spoke of the need to refocus during last week's open date.
“I just had to go back to the drawing boards, go back to my … just work harder, get my confidence more, get in the weight room more and practice harder,” he said. “He was just real fast. He had a lot of speed, and he's a great receiver. I just wasn't on my game that game.”
With run defense spotty, improvement in the secondary has been something the Rebels could hang a hat on defensively.
They need Pendleton moving forward.
Alabama had some quarterback issues early, but A.J. McCarron has really settled in as the starter. After throwing two interceptions in the opener against Kent State, McCarron hasn't thrown a pick over the last five games, a span covering 127 pass attempts.
Alabama will run first, but it will be balanced offensively, and Pendleton will be tested again, hopefully for Ole Miss with results that more closely resemble his games before Fresno.