It is almost time for kickoff in the 2014 Egg Bowl between Ole Miss (8-3, 4-3 SEC), ranked 19th in the nation, and State (10-1, 6-1) , ranked 4th. The Rebel Walk would like to thank the seniors on this year’s team for all they have done for the Ole Miss Rebel Football program.
Legendary Coach Vince Lombardi once said,
“The real glory is being knocked to your knees and then coming back. That’s real glory. That’s the essence of it.” — Vince Lombardi
No doubt Coach Lombardi, himself, would be impressed by the resilience of the twenty-one Ole Miss players who are playing their last game in Vaught-Hemingway today.
These young men endured the 2011 season, going winless in conference and losing their last seven straight. They were knocked to their knees—but kept coming back. This year, their Rebel team won seven straight and can still finish the season 10-3.
These 21 Rebel players have helped create the “new normal” at Ole Miss and deserve all glory and praise today as they take their home field one last time:
It is hard for most of us to fathom our football Saturdays without these players, so imagine what it will be like for them as they run out onto the field for the last time today. They will look around and see the faces of the friends, families, and fans who have supported them on their journey.
They will watch the clock tick down on their careers at Ole Miss, and they will remember how far they have come. Some may reflect on their schoolboy days and the excitement they felt knowing when their high school or junior college careers were over, they were going to have the opportunity to play for the Ole Miss Rebels.
Some may think back on the ups and downs they have had and the incredible sacrifices it took to get where they are at this one final moment.
They may recall finishing that tough 2011 season with a 2-10 record. They may remember what they felt when their coach was fired and a search initiated for the new man who would revive their struggling program.
They may look back on the arrival of head coach Hugh Freeze and recollect how they struggled and worked so hard to find their places in the new coach’s system.
There were new coaches, new schemes, new rules, and new expectations.
Finally, though, there were also new results.
These 21 players honored today have been instrumental in helping turn Ole Miss from the 2-10 team that was winless in conference to one that has now had three consecutive winning seasons—and will make its third consecutive bowl appearance.
After four years of watching and rooting for these young men, it is hard for us to say goodbye—hard to wrap our minds around the fact that we will never again see these players giving everything they have for the Red and Blue.
We will never again see Bo Wallace drop back to pass in the Vaught.
Never again see Cody Prewitt close in on his prey like a Great White Land Shark, hitting the hapless victim with vicious force.
Never again see Senquez Golson make a game-winning interception in the end zone against the number one team in the nation.
Never again see Deterrian Shackelford lead his teammates in tackles, as well as lead them when they need support and encouragement.
Never again see Vince Sanders use his uncanny ability to get open and make an acrobatic catch to keep a drive alive.
Coach Lombardi also said,
“It is time for us all to stand and cheer for the doer, the achiever — the one who recognizes the challenges and does something about it.” — Vince Lombardi
Nowhere is this spirit more evident, nor will the cheering be more deserved, than for the 21 proud, strong “doers” we will see for the last time at home today.
They recognized the challenges and did something about it. Rebel Nation, it’s time to stand and cheer for them.
Hotty Toddy and Beat State!