A view from Oxford ...
by Jeff Dantzler
photo by Rob Saye
Richard Cross is an old buddy and one of the fine young broadcasters in the business. He has worked on the Ole Miss network, hosts a show in Oxford and Memphis and does regional television work. Young Mr. Cross gives us his take on Saturday’s game.
Talk about the difference Bo Wallace has made at quarterback?
Funny the difference it makes when a team isn’t playing quarterback roulette. Ole Miss has had issues at quarterback since the 2003 departure of Eli Manning (with the exception of 2 years from Jevan Snead.) Bo Wallace had exceptional numbers at the JUCO level and has seemingly gotten very comfortable in Hugh Freeze’s offense. The year Wallace had under Freeze at Arkansas State helped, and Wallace is playing more efficient football in the last month. Though he doesn’t fall into the true dual-threat category, Wallace has shown the ability to hurt opponents with his mobility and his deceptive speed.
Richard, you guys also have an excellent group of fast
play-makers around Wallace, it’s got to be fun watching all
these guys play.
Jeff Scott has turned into a true running back. He’s no longer the
scat back that can’t run inside. Scott has been durable and despite
being a small guy has proven he’s not only willing but capable of running
between the tackles.
Donte Moncrief would be a starting wide receiver for 14 teams
in the SEC. He doesn’t blow you away with size or speed, but he gets
open, gets behind defenders and makes plays. Moncrief leads the team
in catches and TD receptions.
Randall Mackey is a pretty interesting story. From QB to RB to wherever
he’s needed, Mackey is in a true hybrid role. Against Arkansas Mackey may have
been the difference in the game. He’s been a good team guy that most people
thought would not come back to Oxford for his senior season.
How have the Rebel faithful taken to coach Freeze?
Like a fish to water…in the immediate aftermath of his hire, Rebel fans were
apprehensive. People had trouble believing a coach with such a small resume
could be the guy to return Ole Miss football to respectability. But the results on
the field, in the weight room and in the classroom have even the most hard
headed, “I have to be right fans” singing his praises.
Is it night and day from last year to this, the attitude from everyone
around the program?
Night and day, east and west, the Sahara and North Pole, Georgia and
What is your take on Georgia?
Good football team. Really good. Obviously Georgia is talented. The tailback
tandem has been fun to watch. Murray may not get the recognition he deserves.
It seems from an outside perspective, the Cocktail Party was the first time UGA’s
defense showed up the way most thought it could. If Georgia plays that kind
of defense the rest of the way – which I hope they don’t this week – the Dawgs will
be tough to beat.
What does Ole Miss need to do to win?
When Ole Miss protects the football, they’re a pretty good team. Offensively, I
think Ole Miss has got to be able to run the ball. Going into the Arkansas game, the
Rebels were 4th in the league at 211 yards rushing per game. Arkansas really slowed
down the run game. If Ole Miss can play at the tempo they want, which means they
have to consistently pick up first downs, the can give Georgia fits.
Do you feel like the Rebels are building towards making a push towards
the upper division of the SEC West?
Ole Miss lost 16 games in a row in the SEC…they’ve now won 2 straight in the
league. Let’s see if the Rebs can become bowl eligible in 2012 before we start talking
about competing with Bama and LSU. But come to think of it…Ole Miss has played
Alabama closer than anyone else this year, and LSU is good….but are they that good?
Who do you think wins Alabama-LSU?
Who plays for the national title?
Alabama and Notre Dame
What is your take on the rampant expansion?
It’s been good for Ole Miss, simply from a monetary standpoint. The new TV
deal will significantly affect Ole Miss’ bottom line…much more so than at a place like
Georgia simply based on the size of the budget.
Texas A&M always felt like a good fit, and they’ve proved quickly they belong.
Mizzou, not so much.