This isn’t a work approximately both former Ole Leave out head train Hugh Freeze’s firing or the Rebels’ longstanding struggle with the NCAA. We’ve written the ones items. A large number of them. Steven Godfrey and I’ve performed a podcast approximately it, too. It’s smartly-coated territory.
No, that is an acknowledgment that Ole Leave out will play a soccer season. The Rebels will play 12 video games — and no extra than 12, way to self-imposed sanctions — with an meantime head instruct. Someday q4, athletic director Ross Bjork will start his seek for a whole-time head guy, however this can be a preview of the ones 12 video games.
As a result of I’m now not a fan, and since my emotional smartly-being isn’t tied to the result of those 12 video games, I will be able to say I’m in reality fascinated with studying what the Rebels are able to. As a result of it can be anything else. I discussed my infatuation with Freeze groups on the finish of that PAPN episode:
BC: I will be able to ceaselessly be mad at Hugh Freeze for blowing this as a result of … I freaking beloved observing Hugh Freeze groups play. Now, a part of that used to be as a result of I had no rooting hobby, so the truth that they have been loopy and it went off the rails every so often, however did not different occasions, that used to be high-quality. I did not thoughts.
SG: It used to be a firework, however it used to be a firework with, like, actually shoddy fuses, so sometimes they might blow up for your hand.
BC: Such a lot velocity and more or less a do not-provide-a-rattling aggression, all the time, however I liked that that they had that side to them. It used to be such a lot a laugh, there used to be such an emphasis on velocity that, particularly with their safeguard, it used to be more or less a imaginative and prescient of the place school soccer used to be going to regulate to unfold offenses. And they ran a variety offense, within the SEC West, and proved it can be performed somewhat smartly. Beloved that.
And I really like usurpers! We all the time speak about how this game hates usurpers, and we instantly attempt to strike down those that do not have compatibility. I beloved that there used to be a workforce signing a most sensible-10-quality elegance, more than one most sensible-10-quality categories, and profitable 10 video games, and beating Alabama, that wasn’t a blue blood who is been just right for some of the remaining 50 years. I beloved that. And he blew these kind of tale strains by way of, smartly, through being Hugh Freeze, I assume.
Bet what: Ole Omit will nonetheless have all types of velocity in 2017. The Rebels will nonetheless attempt to drive errors with aggression, and barring any final-minute transfers (an opportunity all the way through this fluid state of affairs), they’re going to nonetheless have former superstar recruits scattered during: a 5-famous person sophomore quarterback, a few 4-megastar sophomore operating backs (plus a 4-celebrity senior returning after lacking 2016), 8 4-famous person receivers, a 4-megastar tight finish, six 4-celebrity linemen and 5-stars, six 4-megastar shielding backs. They usually’ll nonetheless have most commonly the similar training team of workers
Those gamers could have even much less explanation why to provide a rattling. And on the way to most certainly lead to them blowing up on your hand just a little extra frequently.
2016 in evaluation
2016 Ole Omit statistical profile.
We had a operating funny story thru so much of remaining season: that Ole Omit used to be the most productive [random bad record]staff within the usa. Easiest 1-2 group, best possible three-four group, highest three-five group. The Rebels took on a brutal time table and scared the hell out of a few superior groups — they led FSU 28-6 past due within the first part sooner than collapsing in a forty five-34 loss, and led Alabama 24-three past due within the first part (thank you partially to a go back landing) ahead of succumbing forty eight-forty three (thank you partially to go back touchdowns) — however couldn’t recover from the hump.
Thru 9 video games, the Rebels have been four-five — zero-four towards groups within the yr-finish S&P+ most sensible 15 and four-1 towards everybody else. They throttled Georgia by way of 31 and Memphis by way of 20, they usually have been just a little unfortunate to lose a wild, 34-30 choice at Arkansas. The safeguard used to be sliding, however this used to be nonetheless a a laugh, bad group.
Quarterback Chad Kelly suffered a season-finishing damage, then again, and the reins have been handed to freshman Shea Patterson in advance than anticipated.
Patterson sparked a past due comeback win at Texas A&M, however the Rebels collapsed of their ultimate video games, getting outscored ninety three-37 through Vanderbilt and Mississippi State.
In all, the season took the type of a supernova. The Rebels seemed very good (however now not rather very good sufficient) early, performed fairly smartly, then collapsed.
- First five video games (three-2): Avg. percentile efficiency: 86% (~most sensible 15) | Avg. yards in line with play: x | Avg. efficiency vs. S&P+ projection: plus-2.7 PPG
- Subsequent four video games (1-three): Avg. percentile efficiency: sixty seven% (~most sensible forty) | Avg. yards consistent with play: x | Avg. efficiency vs. S&P+ projection: minus-10.7 PPG
- Remaining three video games (1-2): Avg. percentile efficiency: 31% (~most sensible ninety) | Avg. yards consistent with play: x | Avg. efficiency vs. S&P+ projection: minus-27.7 PPG
Truthfully, it wouldn’t be unexpected to peer a identical trajectory q4. With so few accomplishments to attempt for in 2017, there’s an opportunity the Rebels are duds from the get-pass. However with the skill to hand, they may come firing out of the gates however flag because the season wears on and motivation wavers.
That may be dangerous information for early warring parties (Cal, Alabama, Auburn) and just right information for November foes (Kentucky, Texas A&M, Mississippi State).
Complete complex stats word list.
Even prior to Freeze used to be dumped, Ole Omit used to be dealing with rather slightly of amendment. Protective coordinator Dave Wommack retired, and Freeze unusually brushed aside offensive coordinator Dan Werner in spite of again-to-again Off. S&P+ most sensible-15 performances. The Rebellion offense pale as 2016 wore on, nevertheless it used to be nonetheless just right till the final video games.
The dismissal used to be peculiar, however the alternative used to be fun. Freeze introduced in Phil Longo, head of the most productive FCS offense within the united states of america, to put in his model of an air raid-taste assault.
The 2016 Sam Houston State offense used to be all kinds of a laugh. They averaged forty nine.five issues consistent with recreation (the typical used to be fifty three.1 ahead of they scored simply seven in an FCS playoff loss to James Madison) whilst throwing fifty seven % of the time. Quarterback Jeremiah Briscoe finished sixty three % of his passes with an obscene fifty seven-to-10 TD-to-INT ratio, 4 gamers stuck no less than forty passes, and the highest operating backs nonetheless carried sufficient to realize 1,656 yards at 6.1 in keeping with raise.
Higher but, this used to be a move-first, move-2d offense that still thrived within the purple zone; the Bearkats scored touchdowns on eighty % in their purple zone journeys, very best in FCS.
Granted, while you lose your beginning quarterback, your prime rusher, and 3 of your most sensible 4 receiving goals, that’s now not the most productive time to double down at the move, however with the sophomores Ole Leave out has within the chamber, it would paintings, no less than sporadically.
The listing of purposes for optimism begins with Patterson. He had his redshirt torn off within the tenth recreation of the season — rarely top of the line — however confirmed sufficient flashes to steer us to consider the blue-chip hype used to be justified.
Patterson performs like he used to be created in a twin-risk quarterbacks lab. The ball simply jumps out of his rattling hand, and he proved splendidly adept at now not handiest scrambling for yardage however fending off the brunt of large hits. He slides on the proper time, he turns his throwing shoulder clear of touch, and so forth.
He additionally has a dynamic, younger receiving corps. Former megastar recruits Van Jefferson (forty nine catches, fifty one % good fortune fee, 7.2 yards in keeping with objective)) and A.J. Brown (29 catches, fifty six %, nine.6) held their very own as novices, and DaMarkus Hotel began 2016 superbly (seven catches for 133 yards within the first 4 video games) prior to fading.
Throw in 4-famous person redshirt learners D.Okay. Metcalf (who used to be on his method to making top contributions remaining yr till breaking his foot within the season opener) and Tré Nixon, plus a number of athletic tight ends (sophomore Octavious Cooley, redshirt novices Gabe Angel and Jacob Mathis, and perhaps transformed QB Jason Pellerin), and also you’ve probably were given the makings of a corps that may be each fun and deep sufficient to do what Patterson wishes.
That’s an outstanding factor to mention, bearing in mind what the Rebels misplaced: Evan Engram, Damore’ea Stringfellow, and Quincy Adeboyejo mixed for 146 catches, 2,098 yards, and 15 touchdowns remaining yr.
The run recreation may well be extra a success. The road used to be a multitude ultimate yr, with just one participant beginning all 12 video games and 8 beginning no less than 5 (I’m now not positive I’ve ever noticed that sooner than), however seven of the 8 are again, and new line show Jack Bicknell Jr. has a variety of uncooked skill to paintings with in gamers like junior guards Javon Patterson and Jordan Sims, junior middle Sean Rawlings, senior take on Rod Taylor, and sophomore take on Greg Little.
Jordan Wilkins’ theoretical go back will lend a hand, too. He has suffered a probably minor damage in fall camp however is predicted to go back, after lacking 2016 as a result of a foolish educational mishap, and his according to-raise averages (five.three yards consistent with lift, forty two % possibility price) have been higher than the ones of final yr’s backs. And it’s now not too past due for 4-celebrity sophomores D’Vaughn Pennamon or Eric Swinney to growth.
Wommack’s attacking, rapid-as-hell four-2-five safeguard used to be probably the most distinctive options of Freeze’s Revolt squads. It labored lovely smartly, too, no less than for a at the same time as. Ole Leave out ranked twenty fifth in Def. S&P+ in 2012, surged to 2d in 2014, and held at twenty third in 2015.
After dropping part of 2015’s line -deep (together with first-spherical pick out Robert Nkemdiche) and some of the secondary to departure or damage, they couldn’t cling onto the similar same old. They slipped to 74th, and Wommack’s tenure ended with the Rebels giving up 1,047 yards and ninety three issues in his ultimate video games.
New coordinator Wesley McGriff, who spent 2012 because the co-coordinator of the 2012 Ole Omit protection prior to leaving for the New Orleans Saints after which Auburn, returns to be successful Wommack. And he’s it seems that bringing extra of a four-three construction with him.
That is no less than just a little bit dicey. First, the Rebels’ constructed their id round velocity, and buying and selling a 5th protective again for a 3rd linebacker will curtail that no less than a bit of. 2d, smartly, there are numerous extra skilled protective backs returning than linebackers.
It’s a question of framing, I assume. The Rebels go back 3 of final yr’s most sensible 4 LBs, together with a pleasant blitzer in senior DeMarquis Gates. However additionally they go back 3 of remaining yr’s most sensible seven. Intensity has been erased, because of this any damage will result in a sophomore or newcomer being examined.
It’s the similar tale at the line: the highest finish (Marquis Haynes) and take on (Benito Jones) go back, however 4 of the following 5 tacklers are long past. Thank you partially to accidents, 9 other linemen logged no less than 10 tackles, and 5 of them are again, however intensity is dicey right here, too, and since you’ll be able to’t are expecting accidents (or suspensions or transfers), you’ll be able to’t wait for how so much this may increasingly backfire.
Thru all of the turnover, the so-referred to as Land Sharks misplaced their id. They didn’t have the items to assault, they usually fell from thirty fourth to 62nd in good fortune price allowed. In the meantime, the large performs were given out of regulate. The Rebels allowed 34 profits of 30-plus yards, 98th in FBS and eleven greater than they allowed (in yet one more recreation) in 2015. Dangerous aggregate.
An damage to Ken Webster didn’t lend a hand. Webster had 3 tackles for loss and eleven passes defensed in 2015 and used to be anticipated to hold the mantel within the secondary after the lack of stars Mike Hilton and Trae Elston (mixed: 17.five TFLs, 33 PDs in 2015). However he used to be misplaced for the season within the opener towards FSU. That, plus an damage to C.J. Moore, intended a ton of enjoying time for novices and sophomores.
Webster is again, no less than after serving a one-recreation suspension. Relying on how so much velocity he has left after remaining yr’s damage, he may just both lend a hand to shore up a cornerback rotation heavy on sophomores (Myles Hartsfield, Jaylon Jones, Jalen Julius) and perhaps no less than one freshman (4-famous person D.D. Bowie) or convey heft and play-making to the security place.
At protection, Zedrick Woods and Deontay Anderson are undoubtedly extra skilled than they have been a yr in the past, senior A.J. Moore is again, C.J. Moore is as smartly, and 4-famous person freshman Breon Dixon may well be a laugh to observe.
The entrance seven has skill however minimum intensity; the secondary has intensity however few confirmed items. McGriff’s first yr again may just move in a large number of other instructions.
Unique groups will have to once more be a power. The Rebels ranked twenty first in Unique Groups S&P+ thank you most commonly to very good position-kicking and kick protection and forged punting. Position-kicker Gary Wunderlich (22-for-23 on FGs) and punter Will Gleeson (forty four.1 backyard moderate) are each again. That’s just right.
The main turnover is within the go back recreation, way to the lack of Carlos Davis. However returns weren’t all that just right.
2017 Time table & Projection Elements
|Date||Opponent||Proj. S&P+ Rk||Proj. Margin||Win Chance|
|2-Sep||South Alabama||108||24.7||ninety two%|
|nine-Sep||UT Martin||NR||32.nine||ninety seven%|
|sixteen-Sep||at California||fifty five||four.eight||sixty one%|
|14-Oct||Vanderbilt||sixty three||10.nine||seventy four%|
|four-Nov||at Kentucky||forty one||2.four||fifty six%|
|23-Nov||at Mississippi State||30||-zero.three||forty nine%|
On paper, with out context — within the S&P+ universe, in different phrases — we’d be expecting lovely just right issues of Ole Omit this season. S&P+ tasks the Rebels twenty sixth with a powerful (however relatively worse) offense and the safeguard making a couple of profits.
The time table for that context-loose group is achievable, with a tight probability at a three-zero get started, a few most probably wins within the center, and 3 relative tossup video games that would produce a profitable report.
However if you end up banned from the postseason, and while your teach used to be driven out weeks prior to the season starts, and when you’ve got not anything to play for aside from a “impressive spoiler” label, keeping up motivation lengthy sufficient to play such as you’re intended to for 12 video games turns out difficult.
The query, then, is how lengthy will Ole Leave out stay it in combination? Will they endure a Week 1 disenchanted to South Alabama and droop to three-nine? Will they play nice within the commencing weeks sooner than a 3-recreation street travel (Cal, Alabama, Auburn) does them in originally of October? Will they care for lengthy sufficient to tug an disappointed of Auburn or LSU ahead of hitting a wall in November (and dropping all of the ones past due tossups)? Will they stoop in any respect?
We simply don’t understand. And I revel in now not figuring out.
Group preview stats
All energy convention preview knowledge so far.