'They were just better than us'

Jeff Scott

Well, what can you say about a 52-7 drubbing? Not much, but here are a hodge podge of random notes and quotes from the manhandling Alabama put on the Rebels Saturday night.

* "I've been competing against Alabama since 1971 when I was a freshman at Vanderbilt and this is the best Alabama defense I have ever seen, and they have won several national titles in that time span. They were just better than us." - Rebel Offensive Coordinator David Lee.

* The Rebel defense gave up 615 yards and only forced one punt, on Bama's second possession. Two Tide backs - Trent Richardson and Jalston Fowler, a third-teamer - went over 100 yards and both ripped off long TD runs. This with the Rebels going with a "heavier" lineup with Uriah Grant, a DT, playing DE, and Ralph Williams replacing a smaller Joel Kight at one of the linebacker slots. The Reb defense is built around gap control. After about a quater and a half, it turned into gap out of control. The Tide gashed the Rebs repeatedly and ended up with 389 yards on the ground on 42 carries, that's a 9.26 per rush average, if you're keeping score.

* The game did not end without long-term damages. Wayne Dorsey (broken arm) and captain Marcus Temple (broken ankle) are probably lost for the season.

* Let's not make the mistake of just "picking on" the defense. The Rebel offense gained 72 yards and scored a TD on their first drive. That was in two minutes and 22 seconds. The glory was short lived. The other 57:38, the Rebs gained 69 yards - total - while Alabama scored 52 unanswered points. "They exposed us," said Defensive Coordinator Tyrone Nix. "Wherever we showed a weakness, they attacked."


Randall Mackey
Bruce Newman

* The Rebels only trailed 17-7 at the half. All things considered, not a bad showing which left a glimmer of hope for the second half. That glimmer was snuffed out quickly. Alabama scored 28 points as methodically as Patton marching to Berlin in the third stanza. Game, set, match.

* If the Rebs had a bright spot, it was kickoff returns. Tobias Singleton and Jeff Scott returned one each into Alabama territory - in the first half. The Rebel offense was not able to capitalize on either, failing to get a first down on both possessions.

"Our special teams were very good again. James Shibest has done a great job with our special teams and we, as an offense, didn't help those guys at all. We had two great kickoff returns to work with, good field position in the first half, and we didn't even get a field goal try out of either. That's a combination of poor play on our part and them (Alabama) just being that good," Lee added.

* Lee and company had a plan to throw deep a bunch. They completed the first one, a beauty to freshman Nicholas Brassell, one Rebel who held his own with the Tide with 4 catches for 101 yards. On the next deep attempt, with the score knotted at 7-7, Brassell beat the Tide defender again but was hit with the ball in the air - no interference call. "We had six or seven long balls called, but three of them we couldn't get off, one was caught and one was a no-call," said Lee. "They just did a great job of covering everything. They ran a lot of different coverages and mixed them up. They also ran them well."

* Lee did have one line of thought that could be construed as praise. "I thought Randall Mackey competed as hard as he could the entire game. He didn't always play well, but he competed," Lee said.

* Ole Miss Coach Houston Nutt said he felt "decent" at halftime, trailing by 10, but he could see some cracks in the armor right before half. "They were starting to wear us down," he said. "That's what they do. They are big, strong and deep, like we knew. We came out ready to play, and did OK in the first half, but they worked us over pretty good in the second half, the same as they have done to everyone so far - Florida, Arkansas, everyone," said Nutt. "I hate the score got out of hand. We had a great crowd and we came out strong, but we couldn't maintain it against them."

* Richardson put on a clinic, obviously. "Nobody has been able to tackle him consistently, not for four quarters," Nutt said. "They have a good offensive line, they keep you off-balance with their passing game, and then they feed Trent. He is a tough, tough back. One person usually is not going to get him down. You have to put at least four hands on him. He ran through a lot of tackles, just ran through them. We were bouncing off him."

* One particular play stood out to Nutt that basically summarizes the game. The Rebs called a screen play to Jeff Scott and had two blockers out in front for a play that looked to be developing into a big gainer. An Alabama linebacker - take your pick - came out of nowhere, ran the speedy Scott down and tackled him for a net gain of 2 yards. "It looked like it would go for 20 yards and here comes a blur. Their instincts and speed are outstanding," Nutt noted. "Also, Nick (Saban) brought more pressure than he usually does. He usually waits until third down, but tonight he brought pressure on any down. We tried to mix things up and they had an answer for everything. An awesome display of defense."


Nick Brassell
Bruce Newman

* With Temple and Dorsey out, the Rebel coaches will most likely have to go more with freshman Senquez Golson at corner in Temple's place and Cameron Whigham, Jason Jones or Carlos Thompson at defensive end the rest of the way.

* Back to Richardson, who kind of epitomizes what the 2011 Tide is all about, Defensive Coordinator Tyrone Nix was in awe as well. "He looked very good on film, but he's even better in person," said Nix. "He made some special plays tonight. He made plays only Trent Richardson could make. Having said that, we weren't physical enough and we weren't getting off blocks well enough."

* Nix was also impressed with the Tide defense. "That's the kind of defense everyone in college football strives to have. Big, strong, fast, well-schooled - that's the kind of defense that can take you to Atlanta, the kind of defense we all want," said Nix.

* While the Tide defense and Richardson will get all the headlines and accolades, Tide QB A.J. McCarron quietly completed 19-24 passes for 224 yards and a TD with no interceptions. "He's a typical Alabama quarterback," said Nutt. "He doesn't get his team beat, he makes good reads and good throws when they are there and he doesn't force the issue. The other thing is that he is protected by an offensive line that gives him time to survey the field and pick out the open guys. It's easier playing QB when you can go through your read progression while you are patting the ball and are stationary."

* Where to now? Well, a rested Top 10 team - Arkansas, who had a bye this week - invades Oxford next week. "As coaches, we'll have to do a great job to keep things together," Nutt closed. "This one is discouraging, but we've got to flush this one, regroup and get back after it this week. We have no choice. We'll come back."

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