This Jeremiah Masoli-to-Ole Miss thing has been dragging on for a while now. First Ole Miss and had no interest. Then Raymond Cotton decided to transfer. Now the Rebels are interested, but it's complicated. We're hanging on every new text message from Houston Nutt. Oy.
Anyway, just how much do we know about this guy from the Pacific northwest? We've all seen some highlights and heard some gushing from ESPN's talking heads. How about a real scouting report from someone who knows Masoli's strengths and weaknesses?
Well, I think I found just that. I asked the namesake of the fine Oregon blog Addicted to Quack to give us all a little help in understanding what Ole Miss might be getting in the troubled signal caller from Eugene, and he graciously agreed. After this highlight video, become informed.
Oregon's Jeremiah Masoli 2009 Football Season Highlights (via mbrownug)
So it would appear as if Jeremiah Masoli is an Ole Miss Rebel. There seem to be a lot of Masoli myths out there, so I want to clear a number of things up about Jeremiah, and give Ole Miss fans an idea of the player that they are going to be seeing on Saturdays.
First off, his past. He got in trouble in high school, as apparently he and a group of friends robbed some people at a local mall. This led him to three months in a juvenile jail and expulsion from school, leading him to transfer to a high school in Hawaii for his senior year. Oregon picked him up out of the JUCO ranks where he came in to be our fifth string quarterback. After a rash of injuries, he was starting by game five. Nobody really knew he had been in trouble, and he was by all accounts a model citizen until the frat house thefts incident. Even with that, its speculated that he was suspended for the year moreso because he lied to coach Chip Kelly about the incident than about the incident himself. What he was eventually dismissed for was basically being caught with a bit of weed. That's not a big deal in and of itself, as pretty much half of Eugene has weed on them at any given moment, but with his past and after the frat theft incident, he was literally on zero tolerance and had to be let go.
Now, as for Masoli the player. Listening to a couple of Mississippi reporters on the radio, it's my understanding that Nathan Stanley will remain the starter and Masoli will be brought in as the backup and as a wildcat back. If Ole Miss intends to keep the offense that they ran under Jevan Snead, this is probably for the best. Masoli is not an especially gifted passer. He doesn't read through his progression terribly well, doesn't have a terribly strong arm (I can't say I've ever seen Masoli throw a single deep ball), and is maddeningly inconsistent. The first three games of last season, and especially the Boise State game, were some of the worst quarterbacked games I have ever seen. He has made good throws, but you never know when they are going to come. He's not a quarterback that is going to win you any games with his arm.
In Oregon's heavily run based spread, we didn't ask him to do that, we just needed him to keep defenses honest. Put him in a situation where he can read the option and run the football, and he turns from mediocre passer to deadly weapon. He is a gifted, physical, punishing runner. He doesn't have great speed, but he can read an option really well, find holes, and if there is no hole put his head down and truck somebody. A threat for the highlight reel every time he touches the ball. You're probably not going to overhaul your whole offense with a month left for one year of Masoli. But put in a wildcat package for him, and it will be exciting. He'll run as well as any running back in the wildcat but his arm, while not what you want from a starting quarterback in a pro style offense, is more than adequate enough to be a threat on short to intermediate routes in a wildcat formation. He will drive opposing defenses bonkers, and will be a big weapon to have up your sleeve. He was so great at Oregon because our offense was optimal for his skills. Keep him in positions where he can succeed and he will be a game changing weapon for you. Just don't expect him to drop back 25 times a game.
Rumors have also come to surface about his leadership abilities. Supposedly, he wasn't a great example for the younger kids, and the older players didn't listen to him much. That said, he's not coming into Ole Miss at this stage in the game to be a leader. He's coming to be a mercenary.
Masoli lost his right to represent our University with a series of bad decisions. But he provided us with a lot of good times over the last two years, and we are all hoping that he makes the most of his next chance and manages to turn around his personal life. Don't be surprised if you have a lot of Duck fans tuning into Ole Miss football this season to see how it all goes.