The arrival of Jeremiah Masoli as the quarterback at Ole Miss adjusted the 2010 outlook for the Rebels.
Things went from hopeful for success to much more expectant. Masoli had high expectations too, and now he can sense that chance for success slipping away.
"We had such great expectations for this season, but now we're almost at a point where we have nothing to lose. We've got to win this next game."
Before Masoli the quarterback situation most likely would have been Nathan Stanley with some Randall Mackey mixed in. Inexperienced but with the chance for success. You could see a roadmap to good things, but Masoli made a fuzzy picture much clearer.
The thing the Rebels could least afford happen has happened, and that's a blow up on the offensive line. Rishaw Johnson, a guard of all-SEC skill, was not fully rehabilitated and couldn't hold things together. Program veteran Alex Washington couldn't hold his starting job, and suddenly there was an open competition for starting jobs four games into the season.
When it appeared stability had arrived the injuries set in.
There have been other issues as well, but the central focus these days is on the offensive line, which hasn't put four quarters together since Fresno State.
That being said, no single remaining area on the offense or elsewhere has played at a level to help off-set the youth up front. Even with the horrid first half of blocking at Arkansas better tackling or production inside the 5 late in the game could have led to a different outcome.
The bottom line is Masoli has a right read on things. The Auburn game isn't a must win for bottom-tier bowl eligibility, but that's not what the expectation was when he got here.