To take a line from Charles Caleb Colton, “Times of great calamity and confusion have been productive for the greatest minds. The purest ore is produced from the hottest furnace. The brightest thunder-bolt is elicited from the darkest storm.”
It was October 8, 1988 when the Rebels defeated the Tide 22-12. That would be the last time until this past weekend that the Rebels would make all the the disbelief and dreams a reality once again and prove that they are not just good at winning parties, but they in fact can find a way to win games.
So you can stop pinching yourself Rebels because that dream of upsetting Alabama 43-37 in Tuscaloosa is no longer a far-fetched reality for this team. In case you needed reassurance, I suggest you watch the “roll tears roll’ videos that went viral last night after we made a case that we are here to stay for more than just 15 minutes and we are not a fad you’re just going to hide away.
Blood was shed on both side of the ball, but for once in a long time we saw a Rebel team that played four complete quarters without flinching for a moment or letting their success from the past two games allow them to let their guard down for a moment.
The Rebels have come to play and to stay, and after much chatter whether or not this team was the real deal or just another illusion of let down, they proved Saturday night that the formula has come together. They showed that they are playing in the moment. They can’t control what the past has done or what the future will bring, but what they showed is that they can manage the ability to focus on the here and now to win games.
It hasn’t been easy with the mental game for the Rebels from being shaken with injury and loss of players on both sides of the ball. But they have proven that show must and will go on. The Rebels are going to have a better ability to shake it off and play as a team, not just as a team with individuals who are their only stars.
You know I can go into stats and all those things but we saw all well and good how that didn’t matter in this game. What did matter was that the Rebels unmasked the Tide’s mistakes and utilized them to their advantage. Plain and simple, they followed through and paid attention to details on both sides of the ball and made plays happen. I try to make fans understand that on any given day the Rebels can be the best or the worst but no matter what, a team is only successful if it can play in the here and now.
The Rebels didn’t play fancy but they played gritty. If you had any doubts about Chad Kelly, I think they were probably crushed last night as he showed he’s going to command a presence for this team and do what it takes to show. His team is going to make something out of nothing when given the opportunity.
What we can take away from this victory is that the SEC West better watch out for the Ole Miss Rebels. If they continue on this track we are going to take it by storm. Yes, we are a viable team to go for it all. It won’t be easy for the Rebels by any means but they have broken ground in a big way. This season they are finally doing what works for this team which will go a long way.
Coach Freeze and his men are finally more complete and balanced on both sides of the ball which has allowed them to find more ways to make impacts early on. They are creating a depth that is allowing to work in more players and creative plays which has allowed the Rebels to be a chameleon on the gridiron.
The Rebels are letting go of the superficial ideas or the chatter pre or post games affect their ability or take them away from the task at hand which has proved they can play and focus more effectively.
The Rebels are not in the clear by any means. They must continue to play with balance and force each weekend, not letting the guard down even once. The cost of victory is not easy and will not come on a silver platter for this team but the Rebels are showing they don’t want it all handed to them on a silver platter. Rather, they’re ready to roll up their sleeves and get down to business.
I leave you with a little bit more food for thought by Lincoln Patz: “Before the fruits of prosperity can come, the storms of life need to first bring the required rains of testing, which mixes with the seeds of wisdom to produce a mature harvest.”
Hotty Toddy y’all ! See y’all back at the Vaught next weekend as we open home conference play against Vandy.
Lee Ann Herring-Olvedo is a HottyToddy.com contributor, veteran SEC sports journalist and Brown University graduate. She loves good cigars, good games and a smooth glass of bourbon — not necessarily in that order. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.