After allowing the most completions (44) and passing yards (661) in school history in a 49-45 loss to Texas Tech last week, the Rebels head to Gainesville, Fla., with plenty of concerns about the defense.
Head coach David Cutcliffe said he can't identify whether the problem is his players' execution or his coaches' scheme. Also unclear is whether the problem with the Ole Miss secondary, which is last in the NCAA in pass defense, lies more in its own deficiencies or in the lack of pressure being put on the quarterback by the front seven.
The Rebs' offense isn't a problem, though.
Senior wide receiver Chris Collins broke the school record for pass completions in the first quarter Saturday, making his 143rd grab of his career. Collins now owns school records for receptions, 100-yard games and touchdown catches in a season and career.
By starting true freshman quarterback Chris Leak, Florida head coach Ron Zook brought the deep ball back into the Gators' offensive repertoire. Leak completed 20-of-35 passes for 268 yards and two touchdowns in his first start, including a few long passes in a 24-21 comeback win over Kentucky.
With most Gator fans expecting a return to the Fun 'n' Gun offense of former coach Steve Spurrier, Leak will make his first start at the Swamp this weekend against Ole Miss.
On defense, though, Florida is down to its third-string linebacker after backup Dwight Jackson went down with a separated shoulder against the Wildcats.
Starting linebacker Todd McCullough will most likely miss the remainder of the season after undergoing shoulder surgery.
No one can question the toughness of Alabama sophomore quarterback Brodie Croyle.
On Saturday's 34-31 loss to Arkansas, Croyle played the entire second half and overtime period with a shoulder that was separated by Razorback linebacker Tony Bua in the second quarter.
Croyle is currently walking around Tuscaloosa with his arm in a sling, but said there's no way he will miss this weekend's game at Georgia.
Coach Mike Shula said he is being a little more careful and will wait for the reports by the team doctors.
In the meantime, backup quarterback Spencer Pennington has been taking the practice reps and is ready to play if needed.
With things not going so well in Starkville, MSU coach Jackie Sherill finds himself squarely on the hot seat.
With losses to Tulane and Houston, the Bullies are 0-4 for the first time since 1968. And State fans are getting a tad bit antsy.
Sherill said he understands his job will be the topic of conversation in the media and stopped short of saying he will finish the season as State's coach.
Looking to end their ugly nine-game losing streak, the Bulldogs take on Vanderbilt this week. Speculation persists that a home loss to the Commodores could be what it takes to end Sherill's 13-year reign at MSU.
Published: Wed Oct 01, 2003 | Modified: Sat Aug 06, 2005 05:25 p.m.