Matt Mossberg resigned as Ole Miss hitting coach today.
The key phrase that I took out of the news release was “national search.” Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco says a national search will begin immediately for the next hitting coach.
A couple of things. One, Ole Miss baseball is still a national program. Too many more seasons like this one, and it will lose that status, so a national search is in order, and it will be a very important hire for Bianco.
The hitting numbers weren’t that good this year, even though they got a little better in SEC play. It wasn’t enough to make up for pitching, primarily the bullpen, which also wasn’t very good when Jake Morgan wasn’t available, which was almost the entire SEC season.
Offensively, the Rebels were third in the SEC in home runs, but that’s not necessarily a good thing. In the year the bats changed, it would have been better for the Rebels to be more efficient in small ball, but their inability to successfully advance runners led to their status as the No. 2 team in the league in hitting into double plays.
Mossberg also coached third base, and there were issues with baserunning much of the season.
Frankly, there were few areas in which Ole Miss baseball excelled this year. I’ve written several times about the need for a talent upgrade, and the current signed recruiting class – if it survives the next 24 hours of the MLB draft – could be a big step in that direction.
Signing talent is one important step in rebuilding the program. The Rebels have to successfully navigate this draft, they have to get enough of this talented class to Oxford. I don’t know how you do that other than cross your fingers. We’ll see.
You can chart a decline in Ole Miss baseball to the beginning of May of last season. The Rebels dropped their last three series, going 2-7 in those nine SEC games. That means since a sweep at Mississippi State last season, the Rebels are 3-10 in their last 13 SEC series.
The Rebels were just 30-25 this season, 13-17 in the SEC, and missed postseason for the first time since 2002.
In times like this there’s a search for the cause of the problem. The problems weren’t singular in focus. Ole Miss baseball didn’t get here overnight and won’t be fixed with one new hire.
But one new hire can make an impact, and it’s important for Bianco to find the best fit for the fix.