This is a random order. Here’s reason No. 22 that Ole Miss will be improved in 2011.
When Houston Nutt introduced the “Wild Rebel” at Ole Miss in 2008 it wasn’t a completely original move.
Nutt – with David Lee as his offensive coordinator – had already run the “Wild Hog” in Fayetteville. Generally speaking, it’s the wildcat formation where a player other than the quarterback takes a direct snap and does … whatever. He can run straight, run wide, hand off, pitch or pass. The idea is that a different person – a fast person – as the play facilitator puts pressure on the defense.
With Dexter McCluster for his first two seasons, Nutt had a great Wild Rebel trigger guy, mostly because of McCluster’s speed, not for his passing accuracy.
In 2010 Nutt didn’t have McCluster and did have a new co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in Dave Rader. Brandon Bolden became the Wild Rebel. The formation didn’t generate the big gains it often did with McCluster and was used less.
You could see a comeback with the formation this year.
Bolden is an accurate passer, but what makes the Wild Rebel potentially more effective in 2011 is that Lee, who has interest in the formation, is now at Ole Miss, and the Rebels have more speed to work with.
Whether with Bolden taking the direct snap or not, it’s clear Lee intends to work the wide receivers into the running game.
Lee used the wildcat formation with the Dolphins in 2008, 2009, 2010. The average gain per attempt declined each season, sagging to 3.3 yards last year largely because the newness had worn off with defenses, Lee said. Other offenses have used the formation too.
“Last year, people really caught on to it and slowed it down, and it happened to Houston Nutt at Ole Miss, too,” Lee told Pro Football Weekly in March.
While the element of surprise with the formation is gone, speed could off-set that for the Rebels.
In addition, if Randall Mackey does not win the quarterback job, then he comes back into the picture as a change-of-pace guy. Potentially you’ve got a quarterback – a very fast one – as the Wild Rebel.