Pads Will Tell Tale

Ole Miss DL Coach Terry Price likes the early look of the Rebel defensive forward wall, but the old school mentor is not going to say a lot until the hitting starts. Read his early thoughts inside.

You've heard it a hundred or more times from football coaches.

"They all look good in shorts."

Ole Miss Defensive Line Coach Terry Price is no different.

Before making too many statements about his inexperienced troops, he wants to see them in action with full gear on.

"You know me - it isn't football unless there is hitting and guys are getting down and dirty," Price smiled.

About the only thing Price would concede after two days of spring practice - in shorts - was a general statement about their look.

"Obviously, we don't have much experience, but I think we have some athleticism, which I like," he said. "We have more athleticism than we did last year, I think.

"Now, we have to see how physical they are. We aren't as big as we were last year, and while we are a little more athletic, you still have to be able to stop the run in this league, so ask me after Thursday's practice with pads and getting nasty and I'll tell you more. Can we strike people? Can we get off blocks and make plays? Remains to be seen."

Gilbert Pena
Chuck Rounsaville
Right now, two returning guys - Justin Smith and Corey Gaines - are lining up at number one at the DT slots. Will that last?

"In all honesty, they don't have a lot of experience - spot play last year. So far, they have accepted the challenge, but again, we'll see if they can anchor down and strike folks when the pads are on and there are live bullets being fired," he noted.

JUCO transfer Gilbert Pena has made a good first impression, with the caveat of no pads once again.

"The thing I like is that for a 330-pounder, he moves well. He's got good, quick feet. I like the way he moves for a big guy," noted Price. "We will see how he moves around at 330 and evaluate where we think he needs to be after spring training. If he handles things at 330, we might keep him there."

DE Carlos Thompson has a lot of eyes on him.

"He's put on about 20 pounds and that has given him some confidence. He's never been afraid of contact and he moves well. I'm anxious to see him in pads," assessed Price.

Two redshirt freshmen DTs - Carlton Martin and Bryon Bennett - are also on Price's radar.

"Bryon has to put some weight on - he's about 280 now. Carlton is closer to 290. I like the way both of them move around in there," Price ended. "Both have gotten stronger and are on schedule. Now, they will get tested, as all of them will, Thursday and the rest of spring training."

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