PARRISH ALFORD: Rebels still in rebuilding process

PARRISH ALFORD

PARRISH ALFORD

OXFORD

Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze returned to a familiar theme at his Monday presser this week when he spoke of the Rebels’ building process.

In the midst of four road games, interrupted only by an FCS appearance by Southeast Missouri, things were rocking along quite nicely until the friendly voice on the GPS lured the Rebels into Alabama.

Ole Miss was shut out for the first time in 15 years when it lost 25-0 at No. 1 Alabama.

Losing at Alabama can be forgiven, but there was frustration with so few trips to the red zone and the inefficiency while there.

Auburn was a little more perplexing, not that the Tigers’ winning was a complete shock. Gus Malzahn inherited a roster with talent and added to it.

The surprise came in that for the first time under Freeze the Rebels were thoroughly out-performed in significant parts of a game in which they were not decided underdogs.

Maybe that should just be filed in the “one of those days” category.

For a year and a half, Freeze has made rebuilding look like no big deal – even though the end of the 2011 season was as bad as I’ve seen Ole Miss football.

Maybe the kind of game seen at Auburn was bound to come.

“Unfortunately, people want to create expectations in a short amount of time in our society. That’s not just in football. They want return. They want it now,” Freeze said.

There was trouble in a number of areas at Auburn.

Pass protection that had not been good was worse. The running game again did not adjust when the perimeter runs were taken away. Interceptions that quarterback Bo Wallace had not thrown were there. Run defense that had been strong struggled with Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall.

Wins at Vanderbilt and Texas and a quick jump into the rankings got the Rebels some nice coverage but didn’t help Freeze with the journey message.

It is true that the staff is just 1 1.2 recruiting classes into this project, and fixing Ole Miss football is not a just-add-water challenge.

In spite of its problems, Ole Miss was near midfield and a touchdown drive from the lead in the middle of the fourth quarter when Wallace’s second interception halted things, and Auburn quickly gained the upper hand in field position and clock.

That’s a reminder that significant rebuilding progress has been made. It is no longer November 2011.

However, alarm bells have gone off because not much progress has been visible in the last two games.

The stretch of home games is welcomed, but it starts with two top 10 teams. One bad game does not constitute a backward step on the journey, but if some fixes aren’t implemented location alone won’t carry the Rebels down the road.

Parrish Alford (parrish.alford@journalinc .com) covers Ole Miss for the Daily Journal. He blogs daily at Djournal.com.

  • Kevin

    Ole Miss is rebuilding, we’re rebuilding, just wait until we’ve rebuilt…I’ve been hearing this since 1971. We’ve always been rebuilding and we’ve never been very good, just mediocre or really bad. this year, we’re really bad.

  • pdreb

    Make yourself an Alabama supporter Kevin. Maybe it will make you feel better. Never have I read so much dopey negativity from any fan be he Rebel or other. Also, a little psychotherapy would probably he.

    • Kevin

      I see you resort to personal attacks directed at me rather than addressing what I say about the Ole Miss program and their ability to suck up the field. Keep it about football, pdreb, instead of going off on tangents. So let me guess, you’re predicting a Rebel win over the team that has one of football’s greatest quarterbacks, right? What does this unflinching positivity do for you, pd? You kind of remind me of Joe Dirt–you know the loveable David Spade character who was amazingly upbeat about his plight despite suffering intolerable indignities and hardships. Well, I got to go now. See you in the stands on Saturday for another Rebel beatdown.

  • pdreb

    Your masochism and negativity has taken over your brain and thinking process Kevin.

    It’s really funny. You have been followingRebel football since 1971. You say it’s been a total failure although we have won three Cotton Bowls over the last ten years and Coach Freeze, who you seem to deplore took a program in total disarray and turned it 180 degrees.

    • Kevin

      Cotton Bowls of today have little prestige when the real prize is Atlanta and an SEC championship. Each Rebel season above .500 has served as a harbinger for better things to come, but successful years in Ole Miss land only breed disappointment the following seasons. Case in point is the 2008 campaign. We beat Fla. and demolished the Cow College, stampeded over LSU, and won the Cotton Bowl, but the big prize eluded us and it was followed by a preseason No. 8 ranking that went sour very fast with a demoralizing trip to South Carolina. From that point forward, the Cotton Bowl repeat season of 2009 was an utter disappointment, and then we fell hard and fast after that. I don’t hate Freeze, but his fourth-down antics demonstrate that he has a lot to learn. Moreover, he needs to school his QB on how to speak to the media without delivering locker room material for the opponent. And the jury on Freeze’s tenure is still not in, although you seem quick to conclude that he’s turned it 180 degrees. You’ll be singing a different tune when we finish 4-8 in 2013.

    • ostrogoth

      Well stated pdreb. Kevin should not refer to Ole Miss as “us or we” as he doesn’t qualify as anything other than a jackass.

      • Kevin

        So you’re saying I’m a jackass for pointing out the obvious? It’s funny how my critics do not address what I say and instead launch personal attacks against me. That right there shows that what I say about Ole Miss is indeed true–because you guys cannot argue against it. You all know we’re facing another loss this weekend, but you just don’t want to admit it.

  • REB

    This Kevin, in my opinion Kevin is a MI$$ $TATE troll named Cid. He he has no common sense whatever. He rants and raves, hell if I knew as much as he does I’d run for president. Maybe one day he’ll grow up and quit sucking that milk straight from the utters at MMOOO TOWN. I believe it’s driviing him insane.

    • Kevin

      What a myopic view in which you believe that anyone who provides constructive criticism of a team must be a fan of another team. Let me ask you this, REB, what team have you been watching this season? Aren’t you watching that team that got blanked by Alabama? Didn’t you watch that team that couldn’t score in the second half against Southeasy MO State? Did you see the team that couldn’t tackle against Auburn? What I’m saying about our team is nothing that’s way out in left field–I’m just pointing out the obvious that we suck and with our schedule it’s not going to get any better. We have a JUCO team and freshmen. What do you expect, the Sugar Bowl? Well aren’t your expectations grand!