OXFORD, Miss. – Ole Miss concluded its spring practices with the annual Grove Bowl Saturday morning in front of fans eager to see the potential of their 2017 Rebels.
The Ole Miss offense won the game, 31-29, over the defense and showed it has the ability to be one of the most explosive in the Southeastern Conference this coming season. Sophomore quarterback Shea Patterson expertly utilized a slew of weapons at the wide receiver position, and, together with junior college transfer Jordan Ta’amu, helped the offense amass more than 700 total yards.
The offensive line showed experience, with Rod Taylor (left tackle), Javon Patterson (left guard), Jordan Sims (right guard), and Sean Rawlings (right tackle) all returning from an offensive line that only lost one starter from last season in center Robert Conyers.
After watching Saturday’s Grove Bowl, here are three takeaways on on the Ole Miss offense: Rebels’ offense could possibly look for this upcoming season.
1. Ole Miss has two quarterbacks who can play
Starting quarterback Shea Patterson looked phenomenal Saturday, completing 21 of 30 passes for 341 yards and two touchdowns. Junior college transfer Jordan Ta’amu also looked good for the Rebels as he completed 6 of 11 passes for 188 yards and one touchdown.
New offensive coordinator Phil Longo was impressed with both quarterbacks, especially in the pass-happy offense he introduced to the team this spring. With Patterson and Ta’amu under center, Ole Miss will be among the SEC’s best at the position.
Patterson spoke with the media following the Grove Bowl, commenting on the progress of the offense, the talent of his receivers, and on his role as a team leader.
2. Rebels will remain known as ‘Wide Receiver U’
Offensive coordinator Phil Longo mentioned after the Grove Bowl that he wants to utilize six to eight receivers and rotate them in and out of his offense. On Saturday, Shea Patterson and Jordan Ta’amu threw the football to 10 different receivers. With all the talent they have on the field, the Rebels should continue to be known as “Wide Receiver U” in 2017.
Sophomore wide receiver A.J. Brown caught five passes for 133 yards and one score. Van Jefferson notched 126 receiving yards and one score on six catches. D.K. Metcalf tallied 98 yards and a touchdown on four catches. Markell Pack finished with 80 receiving yards on three catches.
Longo also used his running backs in the passing game, with Eugene Brazley and D’Vaughn Pennamon recording receptions. Longo used two tight ends as well, as Gabe Angel and Jason Pellerin recorded catches at the position.
Ole Miss finished with 5,572 yards of total offense last season, and the Rebels could repeat that success with their spectacular receiving corps at 100 percent.
3. Experience on the O-line is a big deal
Ole Miss returns four of five starters (Rod Taylor, Javon Patterson, Jordan Sims and Sean Rawlings) from last year’s offensive line and several others who earned starts and significant snaps throughout last season.
Greg Little, Alex Givens and Daronte Bouldin will also be looked at to contribute on the O-line in the upcoming season. A healthy and confident offensive line will go a long way in determining how fluidly the offense will run.
(Feature image credit: Mario Parham, The Rebel Walk)