As Spring Approaches

Spring training starts Sunday, March 17th, when the players report back from spring break. As that date rapidly approaches, we were able to pick up a couple of "notes."

Obviously, the big news this week was the hiring of Jason Jones from Oklahoma State to replace Wesley "Crime Dawg" McGriff as the cornerbacks coach.

Crime took the secondary job with the New Orleans Saints under new Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan.

We've been told by sources with the Saints that McGriff "blew away" Ryan during the chalk talk portion of his interview, thus the offer.

Ole Miss Coach Hugh Freeze had a formidable list of candidates for the open position and attests "there were a lot of quality coaches calling me and showing great interest."

McGriff recommended to Freeze to go after Jones.

"I know Jason really well. We recruited the same areas at times in our careers and I knew he would be a good fit," said McGriff. "He's articulate, he's dedicated and he's organized. He was tough to recruit against."

Freeze took McGriff's advice and contacted Jones, among several others.

Jones came to Oxford somewhat incognito last Sunday and a deal was struck after Freeze saw Jason "fits" with his current staff.

Freeze got who he wanted.

Jason will be in Oxford late Wednesday and will go through his Ole Miss indoctrination Thursday and Friday.

We get asked daily about the rehab of the players who had surgery or other procedures in the offseason. Here's a rundown of where they are right now in their recovery.

* QB Bo Wallace - (shoulder separation repaired) Ahead of schedule. . . If he has no setbacks and continues on the path he is on, he should be able to start light throwing in May and ramped it up in June and July. . . Obviously there are no guarantees in rehab, but there is no reason not to anticipate Bo being 100% in fall camp.

* DT Issac Gross - (sports hernia) Will be ready for spring training.

* DT Carlton Martin - (sports hernia) Will be ready for spring training.

Nick Brassell
File Photo

* OG Aaron Morris - (repaired labrum in shoulder) Will be held out of spring training, but should be lifting by June and be ready for fall camp. . . On schedule in his rehab.

* CB Anthony Standifer - (knee issue) Opted for no surgery in offseason. . . Knee seems to be healing fine, but will have some swelling occasionally. . . We were told that should clear up before fall camp and that he will be able to go through spring training provided the swelling is not present.

* WR Collins Moore - (both shoulder dislocations repaired) Collins is 16 weeks removed from surgery on one shoulder and 18 weeks out on the other. . . He will go through non-contact drills in spring training and should be ready to go full speed by fall camp.

* LB D.T. Shackelford - (knee) The most anticipated return to action for spring will obviously be D.T. . . . Nobody has worked harder to rehab after two seasons missed and two ACL operations. . . After doing some light drill work in bowl practices, D.T. continues to rehab diligently and is expected to be ready to roll in spring training. . . The word is that the coaches and trainers will take things slow with him for a week or so in spring training and if he responds favorably, turn him loose the latter part of spring.

* OL D.J. Bailey - (knee) Bailey, after a knee cleanup in the offseason, is expected to be limited in spring training, but he is on schedule in his rehab.

As we mentioned, there are no guarantees in rehab and everyone heals differently, but that is the up-to-date prognosis as of today.

There was some talk during the bowl practices that DE Carlos Thompson may be moved to tight end. That thought has been shelved for now. Carlos will remain at defensive end this spring.

* Sophomore Quintavious Burdette, who has been tried at safety and corner, will move back to safety (Rover) in spring training after playing CB during bowll practices. He will be competing with fellow sophomore Trae Elston for the job. Burdette recently ran a 10.4 100 meters for the track team, his personal best.

* JUCO signee Q. Mireles, signed as a receiver, will start out spring at cornerback. Q. has gained 10 pounds in Paul Jackson's offseason program and is now tipping the scales at 185 pounds.

* Mid-year signee RB Mark Dodson has gained roughly 10 pounds in the offseason program and has maintained his speed. Dodson is now over 190 pounds.

* We get asked a lot where transfer athlete Anthony Alford will land, position-wise. We don't know the answer to that, but he will start spring training at safety.

* When Freeze first came to Ole Miss, Nick Brassell was in academic trouble and was not allowed to go through much of spring training as he tried to get his academics corrected. After a season at EMCC, Brassell is back at Ole Miss, as you are well aware, but he still has a lot of academic work to do to be eligible in the fall. Apparently, he is taking care of his business because Freeze revealed this morning that the plan right now is to let Nick participate in spring training. He will start out at cornerback, we were told.

* It is anticipated Freeze will have a press conference to discuss spring training tomorrow after Pro Day. Also, it is hoped the media will get a few minutes with new CB Coach Jason Jones.

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