#77 Mississippi Football 2012 Preview

Mississippi Rebels

2012 Overall Rank: # 77
#13 SEC
Mississippi College Football 2012 Team Preview
Mississippi Team Page


Ole Miss struggled mightily last year, only able to squeak out two victories, both in non conference. The laughing stock of the powerful SEC knew they needed a change at Head Coach to attempt to turn the program around. Hugh Freeze, the former Arkansas State head coach, used his Sun Belt Coach of the Year award and his impressive 10-3 record, along with high recommendations, to leverage a new position as the Ole Miss Head Coach. It is a new era for Ole Miss, but one that appears bright.

2011 Record: (2-10, 0-8)
2011 Bowl: None
Coach: Hugh Freeze (0-0 at Mississippi, 10-3 overall)  
Offensive Coordinator: Matt Luke and Dan Werner
Defensive Coordinator: Wesley McGriff and Dave Wommack

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Jeff Scott, RB, 585 yards
Passing: Randall Mackey, QB, 1,112 yards
Receiving: Donte Moncrief, WR, 454 yards
Tackles: Mike Marry, LB, 46
Sacks: Mike Marry, LB, 2
Interceptions: Charles Sawyer, DB, 4

Other Key Returnees: K Bryson Rose, WR Tobias Singleton

Key Losses: RB Brandon Bolden, DL Wayne Dorsey

With only two wins last year there were not many bright spots on this team. They were very young however, meaning that they should only be getting better. Their quarterback play should be improved, as well as their wide receiving unit. They also bring back not only their leading tackler but best overall defensive player in Mike Marry, who will need to have a big year to help this defense. The Rebels pass defense was their biggest strength last year, ranking 22nd nationally. However, in a crowded SEC, that number was just the 9th best in the conference. Furthermore the SEC is not known for lighting up the scoreboard so it is hard to tell how good that pass defense really was. Their punt returns were among the best in the nation, helping to set up an offense that really struggled even in good field position. This will be a key for the Rebels as they bring back their return man this year.

The Rebels offense was their biggest problem a season ago. They struggled through the air, on the ground, and not surprisingly, scoring points. Again, because of the great defenses that roam the SEC, it is tough to judge this offense compared to other teams in the nation, but their numbers were pathetic across the board.  However, with a few key returning players, this unit could be much improved. The area to watch is the offensive line, which surrendered an astounding 2.75 sacks per game. This is a major reason that they struggled, as anyone who knows football will tell you, it all starts in the trenches. This unit is the team’s weakest point and needs to be much improved in 2012 or Ole Miss will be due for another long season. Defensively Ole Miss could not stop the run, giving up over 220 yards per game. They need to tackle better and become stronger in order to stop the run. If you cannot stop the run, you will not win.

The Bottom Line:
Ole Miss will be an improved team, but they are stuck in the toughest conference in the nation. They will routinely face the top defensives in the nation, such as LSU and Alabama, making the task of improving very difficult. The Rebels will have to focus on winning some non-conference games and stealing a few SEC games so they can claim a bowl berth. Going to a bowl game is one of the most important aspects of turning a team around and staying competitive because it gives your team many more practices to improve. Ole Miss may have a rough season but, with the up and coming Hugh Freeze as their head coach, the future looks bright in Mississippi.

Projected Bowl: None

2011 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 129.58 (83rd in the nation, 10th in conference)
Passing Offense: 151.67 (107, 11)
Total Offense: 281.25 (114, 11)
Scoring Offense: 16.08 (116, 11)
Rushing Defense: 224.92 (112, 12)
Pass Defense: 194.42 (22, 9)
Total Defense: 419.33 (90, 12)
Scoring Defense: 32.08 (96, 12)
Turnover Margin: -.67 (100, 11)
Sacks: 1.08 (110, 12)
Sacks Allowed: 2.74 (101, 11)

Madness 2012 Football Recruit Rankings:
#33 Channing Ward
#176 Isaac Gross