Rebels Aim to Spark Run Game Against Cal
Sept. 12, 2017
Shea Patterson knows what it is like to play on the road. His debut came in front of over 100,000 people on the road against Texas A&M at Kyle Field, one of the rowdiest venues in college football.
“Any type of SEC play is going to boost your confidence,” Patterson said. “It lets you gain that experience, which makes you feel more comfortable. I feel very comfortable going on the road.”
Ole Miss will travel over 2,000 miles for its first road bout of the season against a Cal team that is also 2-0. One thing that is always a helpful remedy when going on the road is the ability to run the football, something Ole Miss has done with varying degrees of success so far in 2017.
“I don’t think we have any trouble with the running game right now,” Patterson said. “We have an option to do quite a few things on every play. Our running game, we will run for 200 in one game or pass for 200 in another. It just depends on what they give you.”
What Patterson is referring to is the run-pass options that are the backbone of offensive coordinator Phil Longo’s system. Nearly every snap the offense has the ability to hand it off or pull it back and throw the ball. It is largely dependent on Patterson’s reads, which have obviously good given the fact he’s thrown for over 900 yards in two games. It just seems as if the right read has been more pass-heavy so far, something that the opposing defense also factors into.
Patterson is familiar with run-pass options dating back to high school.
“I did it a lot in high school,” Patterson said. “It has been a really smooth transition.”
What Patterson and the Rebel offense will have on their side is an in-house advantage in terms of personnel. Wide receivers coach Jacob Peeler spent the previous four seasons in Berkeley before taking the same job in Oxford.
“He has a lot of good pointers about their personnel,” Patterson said. “I know they have a lot of athletes on offense.”
Peeler was quick to share the knowledge.
“I have kind of had my brain picked a little this week in terms of the players, personnel and how it can be used,” Peeler said. “What they’re good at and what they’re strengths and weaknesses are. I am just trying to help as much as I can.”
Peeler’s services haven’t just been needed on the offensive side of the ball. Defensive coordinator Wesley McGriff joked on Monday that he was going to issue Peeler a subpoena to gain information on the Cal offense. Peeler gladly obliged since he recruited a variety of players at various positions during his time there.
“I had an area in the southeast so there are several offensive linemen and defensive players I recruited,” Peeler said. “There are a lot of kids over there I had relationships with and still do.”
Cal lost running back Tre Watson for the season in its win over Weber State last week. Peeler weighed in on the impact of the loss for the Golden Bears.
“He was a great leader and has played a lot of football,” Peeler said. “He brought a personality to that team. I think he will still bring that on the sideline, but he was a really good football player. He had very good ball skills and could catch the ball out of the backfield in terms of screens and being an extra receiver. I hate that for him because I know how hard he has worked the last few years.”
When it is all said and done, these are two teams with high-powered offenses. A lot of points will be scored and Peeler’s wide receiver group will get another chance to shine as they have done in the first two games. The competition has been flipped up a notch now and Patterson believes they are up to the challenge.
“They’ve got a lot of good receivers and a lot of good weapons,” Patterson said. “We are going to have to score points.”
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