David Crane Blog :: Back in the Swing of Things

October 16, 2009

Blazer fans,

I trust you all had an enjoyable ''off week'' last Saturday. I was able to spend some time with the family in California...take in The Presidents Cup...play a little golf...eat a lot of food...and, basically, be a bum for a few days. I'm pretty sure I would've had fun regardless, but having the week off after the win over Southern Miss sure seemed to make things even more enjoyable. It's time, though, to refocus, and get ready for Saturday's match-up with Ole Miss.

The Rebels have had a tough time of it this year...I know 3-2 doesn't sound like a tough year, but when you make it all the way to the top five for the first time in, seemingly, forever, and then find yourself out of the polls, completely, just three weeks later, it's tough. There were HIGH hopes for the Rebels this season...a lot based the end to last season, personnel returning, and the way their schedule set up in 2009...the majority of their ''tough'' games were at home. But even a stadium-record crowd wasn't enough to help them last Saturday. So now Houston Nutt's team sits at an interesting point. Their dreams are all but shot...their defense is playing well...but their offense has been lacking, pretty much all year...and they have to try and rebound against a rested, more confident UAB team on Homecoming in Oxford...with Arkansas coming to town next weekend. If timing counts for anything, the Green and Gold certainly have that on their side. You might find a picture of a dragon in the football dictionary next to the phrase "sandwich game."

The Blazers are well-rested...maybe too rested, thanks to all the wet weather the last couple of weeks. But the rest has, no doubt, been good for Neil Callaway's team. The coach has mentioned on several occasions how he likes the timing of the open date. It almost cuts the season in half, and the injuries were beginning to pile up. Not everyone will be 100% for the Ole Miss game, but the Green and Gold are certainly close to full strength, especially considering we are in mid-October. You do wonder if there might be a little rust to shake off on Saturday night, since it will be MORE than two weeks between games. That shouldn't take too long, though, since everyone may be shaking with the cold temperatures expected. I don't know if you can ask for a better football forecast than what we'll have on Saturday night...clear skies with temperatures in the 40s by the time the game ends!



What to expect on Saturday night? Well, I truly believe a game that will be much closer than the experts think. Yes, Ole Miss has a fantastic defense, possibly the best UAB will face all season long. Yes, the Blazers have had trouble with the passing offense this season. But, I think you have to take into consideration that one team is coming in on a high while the other is a bit stunned at the moment. The Rebels are a little banged up. Their re-tooled offensive line will be missing a starter (a one-game suspension...and THIS is the game chosen). Their quarterback may still be having nightmares from his trip to Columbia, SC, a few weeks ago, and from his constant harassment last Saturday. I think the Blazers will have some success on offense (they are the #9 rushing team in America, you know), and I believe they will be able to get pressure on Jevan Snead, who has thrown seven interceptions in the last two games. UAB would love to add Ole Miss to its list of SEC victims (LSU and Mississippi State), and having been to Big 12 country already this season, I don't think the environment will be too intimidating.

My recommendations for the weekend: a) Bundle up...it's going to be cold on Saturday night. b) Go to the Grove before the game...a truly amazing sight to behold, in all sorts of ways. c) Go to the game...Oxford is a beautiful little town with tons of character and charm. d) Believe the Blazers can win...I do.

Have a great weekend...see you in Oxford...and GO BLAZERS!!! DC