Onward and Upward

Melvin Harris opened his sophomore season in impressive fashion. He was on the receiving end of Ole Miss' first recorded touchdown, a 41-yard pass-and-catch from quarterback Nathan Stanley.

But since the season-opening loss to Jacksonville State, Harris has been fairly quiet. He's made three more catches, but for only 29 yards and no touchdowns.

Still, the tall, lanky receiver isn't concerned with his overall numbers through three games.

Melvin Harris

He credits a role-change for his lack of production lately, though he didn't expand on what he's doing differently. What's obvious is a deeper rotation of wideouts. The passes are being spread around offensively.

"That last game, we dropped some passes we shouldn't drop, which probably would have changed the game," Harris said of the unit's production so far. "We have to be opportunistic about our opportunities."

Ole Miss sits 1-2 (0-1 SEC) on the season, the latest setback a 28-14 loss to Vanderbilt. Harris said the Rebels have placed added importance on Fresno State, Ole Miss' upcoming opponent, considering the ramifications of another early loss for a schedule that doesn't get any easier.

"The next game is the most import game, no matter who we're playing. That's how I feel," he said. "But we're going to come out and show y'all what we can do this week, for sure. We're going to execute."

The offense has been, to say the least, sporadic. Ole Miss hasn't failed to gain yards, moving the ball up and down the field with regularity, but to score points. In the loss to Vanderbilt, Rebel receivers twice dropped would-be touchdown receptions. Another was dropped by running back Brandon Bolden.

"We've just got to execute, man," Harris said. "Sometimes the offensive line will be doing what they're supposed to do and everybody else won't. Sometimes the receivers will be doing what they need to do. We just need to all get on the same page, but that'll come with repetition.

"We're all going to get better."

The impetus to get better has been a recurring movement by the entire offense, Harris said.

"I don't feel like we've played that one game where we've come out and hit on all cylinders on offense," Harris said. "This week, we're just going to try to come out and give it our all. People are doubting us, but I feel like we're going to come out and show everybody."

Bolden sees "relentless" Fresno State defense

Junior running back Brandon Bolden has watched film of Fresno State and can easily see why the Bulldogs are undefeated on the season.

"Relentless," he said.

Fresno State, only the second team Ole Miss has played from the state of California in its history, are 2-0 with wins over Cincinnati and Utah State. But while the Bulldogs' powerful offense gets the bulk of attention, Bolden said the defense has proven capable, as well.

Brandon Bolden

"All of them have a relentless attitude," he said. "They try not to get blocked at all; they fall off blocks a lot. That's something we've been working on with the scout team or when we got fast against our original defense. We've got to keep our blocks."

Bolden could be referring to the interior of a much-maligned offensive line. The unit has seen three different players start at right guard through three games. It comes as no surprise, but finding room to run has been a difficult task for Bolden and his fellow backs.

"I've seen some real good things," Bolden said of the offensive line this week in practice. "Logan (Clair), he came into the game and actually did better than anybody expected. Mike (Brown) showed signs of he's getting better. (Alex Washington) did an alright job. (Patrick Junen) is in there right now and he's doing pretty good, even for a walk-on.

"All of them are doing good."

Rapid improvement is what Ole Miss needs from its front five. Just ask Bolden. The push hasn't been there.

"It hasn't but that's one thing we've been working on," he said. "We've got to trust them to get some holes. Some holes were there that we didn't think would be there (against Vanderbilt), and we cut away from it. And I'm speaking for all the running backs.

"That's something we've been working on this week. You've got to get that interior push. You can't have a defensive tackle in the backfield all the time, so we've got to do something."


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