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QB1 Film Room: Rebels come up just short against the Tide

QB1 Film Room: Rebels come up just short against the Tide

Editor’s Note: Welcome to the QB1 Film Room where David Walker, former four-year starting NCAA quarterback and two-year captain, takes a look at the Rebels’ most recent offensive performance. David still holds the record for the NCAA’s youngest starting quarterback — as he played his entire freshman year as a 17-year-old — and was the first quarterback awarded Conference Freshman of the Year in college football.

OXFORD, Miss. — Ole Miss lost a heartbreaker to Alabama, 30-24, Saturday in Vaught-Hemingway. What a tough way to lose a big football game — knocking on the door, first and ten on the ‘Bama 14-yard line.

I’ve been there and it was against none other than Monte Kiffin’s Arkansas defense in 1977. Arkansas scored with two minutes to play to go up 26-20 but missed the extra point. Even though we’d never practiced a single 2-minute offense situation in my entire college career at A&M, we were able to move from our 20 to the Arkansas 15 through the air.

Unfortunately, we then mismanaged the clock due to a botched timeout, and ultimately had one play left with six seconds to go. At that point, a questionable play-call came in from the sidelines and our ensuing throw into the end zone was intercepted.

It was gut-wrenching.

As Lane Kiffin said after the Rebels’ loss to the Tide, “You’ve got the ball in your hands with a chance to beat Alabama and it doesn’t happen. We’ll remember this game for the rest of our lives.”

He’s exactly right.

Let’s look at some QB plays from this one.

Here on our first play, the Rebels line up with a tight trips formation to the short side of the field. They motion receiver Jordan Watkins left, check the handoff to the right, and quarterback Jaxson Dart finds wide receiver Jonathan Mingo on a corner route for 16 yards and a first down.

With the game still scoreless, Alabama lines up in press man-to-man on wide receiver Malik Heath to the right, and it’s the hot route go route. Heath makes an outstanding play on the ball for a big 31-yard gain.

Now up 7-0 in the second quarter, Dart sees the same man coverage on Heath to his right, and again hits the same hot-route throw.

Now tied at 17, the Rebels line up in a tight double slot set and send Heath, who is lined up as the slot receiver on the right, down the seam for a huge reception.

Next is one of the worst, most violent, most viciously-executed face-mask grabs you’ll ever see in your lifetime. The quarterback is lucky his neck wasn’t broken. Forget the fake apologies, the Tide’s Dallas Turner will be back for more later.

Next we have Mingo in motion on the left and a quick behind-the-line throw for six points. The Rebels take a 24-17 lead now midway through the third quarter.

It’s looking good here, down 27-24 with eight minutes to play, with the corner route to Mingo up top. This would be the final big play from the Rebels’ passing offense, but the controversy was yet to find a conclusion.

After a fourth-down sack, this was the treatment that quarterback Dart received from the same Alabama player who had earlier tried to rip his head off.

So what’s ahead? Back-to-back 10-win regular seasons for the first time in Ole Miss history is a strong possibility. The Rebels are favored by 3 at Arkansas and will also be favored in the Egg Bowl. That’s pretty solid stuff for a “rebuilding” year.

Hotty Toddy!

David Walker
David Walker

David is the consummate true-freshman quarterback, first pioneering the position only a year after college freshmen were given varsity eligibility by the NCAA in 1972. In 1973, the left-handed all-state gunslinger from Sulphur, Louisiana started for the Texas A&M Aggies and earned the All-Southwest Conference Freshman of the Year award as selected by the league’s coaches. David is the first college quarterback ever awarded Freshman of the Year in the NCAA. He was only 17, and still holds the NCAA record as the youngest starting quarterback in college football history. He wore No. 8 at A&M in honor of one of his football heroes, Archie Manning.

In becoming the winningest quarterback ever at A&M, David was converted from a dual-threat QB to a triple option trailblazer. The two-time team captain led three record-breaking offenses that changed the direction of football at A&M forever, establishing once and for all the winning tradition that the Aggies had so-long desired.

As a high school head coach in Houston in the late ‘80s, David stationed his quarterback in the shotgun formation, having him reading defenses and throwing hot routes at a time when such offensive schemes were frowned upon by traditional fans and coaches. One of his quarterbacks tossed 57 passes in a single game, which stood as the all-time Greater Houston Area record for many years. 

As you can tell from his bona fides, David is extremely qualified as our expert on all things Quarterback at Ole Miss. Enjoy his exclusive analysis only here at The Rebel Walk!

About The Author

David Walker

David is the consummate true-freshman quarterback, first pioneering the position only a year after college freshmen were given varsity eligibility by the NCAA in 1972. In 1973, the left-handed all-state gunslinger from Sulphur, Louisiana started for the Texas A&M Aggies and earned the All-Southwest Conference Freshman of the Year award as selected by the league’s coaches. David is the first college quarterback ever awarded Freshman of the Year in the NCAA. He was only 17, and still holds the NCAA record as the youngest starting quarterback in college football history. He wore No. 8 at A&M in honor of one of his football heroes, Archie Manning. In becoming the winningest quarterback ever at A&M, David was converted from a dual-threat QB to a triple option trailblazer. The two-time team captain led three record-breaking offenses that changed the direction of football at A&M forever, establishing once and for all the winning tradition that the Aggies had so-long desired. As a high school head coach in Houston in the late ‘80s, David stationed his quarterback in the shotgun formation, having him reading defenses and throwing hot routes at a time when such offensive schemes were frowned upon by traditional fans and coaches. One of his quarterbacks tossed 57 passes in a single game, which stood as the all-time Greater Houston Area record for many years.  As you can tell from his bona fides, David is extremely qualified as our expert on all things Quarterback at Ole Miss. Enjoy his exclusive analysis only here at The Rebel Walk!

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