Posted by Jerry Hinnen
For reasons detailed earlier today in this space, Ole Miss already had a near-impossible task in beating Alabama this Saturday. And now the Rebels have made that task even more difficult for themselves.
Houston Nutt announced after the Rebels' Thursday practice that four players will be suspended for the Alabama game for a violation of team rules: running back Brandon Bolden, offensive linemen Alex Washington and A.J. Hawkins, and receiver Philander Moore.
Moore likely won't be missed; the sophomore has only three receptions this season for a total of one yard. And though a bruising 335-pound second-string senior, Washington likely wouldn't have seen the field without an injury to either Bradley Sowell or Bobby Massie, the Rebels' starting tackles.
But whatever tiny flickering hope the Rebels had for putting together a running game against the Tide may have evaporated with the other two suspensions. Bolden is a decorated senior who'd only recently returned from injury and is easily the Rebels' most powerful runner; Hawkins is Ole Miss's starting center, one with 16 starts in two seasons under his belt. With leading rusher Jeff Scott a poor matchup against the physical Tide due to his smaller stature and Hawkins unavailable, there seems little question the Rebel ground game will be at less than its best--and even its best might not have gotten much accomplished against the Tide.
Which means maybe the most interesting question still to be answered about this game is where on Nutt's locker room motivational chart the four suspended players fall. Could the World of the Uninvested be very far away?