Little in life is as constant as change, and in no place is that more true than a college football roster.
The players you love and cheer for are gone in three years. The ones you love and cheer for most are likely gone in three years or less.
A brief time of mourning follows, but those guys, while not forgotten, are often replaced. Heroes emerge.
Right now the Ole Miss wide receivers need a couple of heroes.
Last year’s heroes – A.J. Brown, DK Metcalf and DaMarkus Lodge – all spent August in NFL training camps.
Lodge lasted in Tampa Bay until the final cut, and Metcalf and Brown combined for seven catches for 189 yards in their NFL debuts for Tennessee and Seattle, respectively.
You don’t subtract those guys from your lineup and not feel it. Ole Miss is feeling it right now.
In spite of all that 2018 talent, Elijah Moore announced his presence with 36 catches, 398 yards and two touchdowns as a true freshman.
Now he needs other true freshmen to do the same, and there is no shortage. Through two games Moore has grabbed 11 of the 25 pass completions from quarterback Matt Corral. Senior tight ends Octavious Cooley and Jason Pellerin have combined for seven catches.
Junior college transfer Dontario Drummond has two catches, but there’s not a single catch from Jonathan Mingo, whose camp put him ahead of the other three freshmen.
Whether it’s Mingo or someone else, new offensive coordinator Rich Rodriguez is waiting for a newcomer to emerge.
“We’ve got a lot of confidence in Mingo. For a true freshman he’s doing some good things. We have other guys too, and frankly, if we can run the ball and get one-on-ones out there, we’ve got to have guys to win those,” Rodriguez said.
The temporary absence of the Rebels’ most experienced returning receiver Braylon Sanders (hamstring) is also a layer in this discussion.
Another change this season is with offensive philosophy. The Rebels ran the ball on 68 percent of 77 snaps in their 31-17 win over Arkansas.
That’s the Rodriguez Way, but the receivers aren’t forgotten. Moore supplied half of the Rebels’ touchdowns in Week 2, but clearly targets will be fewer than the last two seasons by the nature of the scheme.
Spotty accuracy from Corral, a redshirt freshman, has been an issue, but there have been some catchable balls that weren’t caught. Maybe accuracy improves as Corral rocks along, but the receivers need to track the ball, adjust and make catches on less than perfect throws. In short, help a brother out.
Change is indeed constant, and for the Ole Miss receivers change has come. On paper it appears the Rebels have restocked at the position.
We’ll know more about that if a hero emerges.
Parrish Alford (firstname.lastname@example.org) covers Ole Miss for the Daily Journal. Find more in the Facebook group “Ole Miss Discussion with Parrish Alford.”